Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company Out of Service

POCONO SUMMIT -- A fire company in the Poconos is no longer allowed to respond to emergencies.

The Monroe County district attorney is asking questions about possible financial mismanagement at the Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company.

Douglas Soller lives right around the corner from the Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company in Tobyhanna Township. When he heard Tobyhanna Township is no longer allowing that fire company to respond to calls, he was concerned.

"If there's a fire, I don't know where the closest fire company would be to come," Soller said.

Tobyhanna Township manager John Jablowski says while the township appreciates volunteer firefighters, supervisors had to make this tough decision.

"We have asked on numerous occasions for financial records from the Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company. We have yet to receive adequate financial statements from 2015," Jablowski said.

We stopped by the fire company to see what they had to say about this, but the doors were locked. A woman inside yelled through the window, 'We have no comment.'''

Over the years, taxpayers in Tobyhanna Township have provided more than $1 million to the Pocono Summit VFC. The township manager says the public has a right to expect that money is used appropriately.

"When there is not proper accounting of public monies, that leads to concern," Jablowski said.

He added that residents and business owners should not worry about having emergency coverage. Several months ago, the township started working with other fire companies in the area to come up with a permanent plan.

"Let me be crystal clear. At no time will anyone be without fire service coverage in Tobyhanna Township," said Jablowski.

From now on, Tobyhanna Township Fire Company and Mount Pocono Fire Company will work together on all incidents in Pocono Summit.

Jablowski says that agreement gives the community more coverage than it ever had.

It's unclear what will happen to the fire company building and equipment. They're owned by the Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company, but the township believes since the fire company used taxpayer money, the township may be able to get it back. Lawyers are looking into the issue.

12 comments

  • Gary Ugarek

    Well, the last time I did volunteer work for a FD in PA, all I observed was a bunch of alcoholics hanging out, with a fresh Keg on tap watching Backdraft on an endless loop.

    Even if the chief is a volunteer, there should be standards for all including responders. How can you get sloshed 24/7 and be able to respond to fires?

    Pennsylvania needs to pass laws on how VFD’s are managed and run. Even in MD the VFD’s have to run by a strict code which includes drug testing and behavior. TIme to get management oversight of these facilities they have run amuck for years, and on my dime. While this VFD doesn’t cover my area my thoughts and prayers goto the residents who may struggle with response times.

    Wake up PA, the time for action is now.

    • A volunteer

      Gary, it is unfortunate that the FD you were involved with was ‘that way’. You don’t say how long ago that was but I know (unfortunately, again) there are still some like that out there. We refer to them as whackers – guys with three pagers hanging off their belts, more lights on their vehicles than the trucks they respond in, and all the tattoos and t-shirts that tell the world they are a volunteer FF. The sad truth is most of those types have never even been in a burning building and are clueless at an accident scene. Be careful what you wish for though – for those companies that take things seriously and tow the line – their volunteer numbers are low because of their expectations. I foresee that eventually VFD’s will be a thing of the past, but our taxes will increase exponentially to fund paid departments. The heart of a good volunteer can only take so much, decent people have no incentive to volunteer. I’ll agree, this needs to change.

  • Bob Smith

    Who will going to put fires out? Garden hose? Stock up lot of Baking Sodas and fire extinguishers?
    Store a old mattress in garage if available for anyone who gonna to jump outta of window.
    And who will save dear old Granny too?

  • Common Sense

    Now investigate Thompson Hose Company/Thompson Hose Company Ambulance Inc and why tax payers are paying for new Banquet and Catering facilities…and a beer tent out back…..

  • Two sides to the story

    A million dollars over the course of several years is not an unusual expenditure for a fire company with several pieces of equipment. We’ve only heard from one side of this story so far – it could be (would be surprised if there isn’t) bad blood between the FC and township supervisors. It could be sloppy bookkeeping, or it could be malicious. Let’s let the investigators and courts decide any wrongdoing and stop the constant bashing of volunteers that may some day save your home or pull you out of your mangled car. Do us all a favor WNEP – for once follow up on a story after the initial sensationalism.

    • Fmd418

      That wasn’t the issue. The township said they contributed over $1million over the years, but apparently they aren’t providing proper accounting for how it was spent.

  • Unbelievable!

    Hahaha, here we go again! I hope they don’t get too upset over the investigation and burn something down. Volunteer firefighters have been known for doing that without being under an investigation.

    • A volunteer

      They’ve also been known to be on call 24/7, work in extreme heat and cold under circumstances that most people run away from, respond to calls from the dinner table and 3 AM, and deal with death and destruction – for no paycheck but constant criticism from people too lazy and self-absorbed to help anyone else. GFY, a-hole.

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