Rescue Calls To Glen Onoko Overwhelming Volunteer Fire Department

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JIM THORPE -- Since the start of the summer season, there have been several rescue calls at Glen Onoko Falls, including one death.

Volunteers with the Jim Thorpe Fire Department say those calls are tying up much of their job time and its overwhelming their limited manpower.

Now Jim Thorpe Council is asking the state to help with this burden.

Volunteer firefighters from Jim Thorpe and the surrounding communities were called to the Glen Onoko Falls in May after two teenagers from the Lehigh Valley fell fifty feet off a trail, trying to grab a dropped water bottle. One of those teens died.

Jim Thorpe Deputy Fire Chief Vince Yaich says when there's a fatality in Glen Onoko, which is state game lands, they have to wait for state police and the game commission to show up.

“We're not allowed to move the victim, we have to wait, state police game commission will come up,” said Yaich. “So then when their investigation's done then we can package and transport the victim down.”

The fire department spent several more hours in Glen Onoko last month when two women and four children got lost on the trails.

“These are all issues that I have,” said Jim Thorpe council member Jay Miller. “Yes, the fire department does a lot of things other than fires but with volunteerism down, it's getting tougher and tougher.”

Miller has been a volunteer fire fighter with Jim Thorpe for 44 years.

He says those rescue calls in Glen Onoko are overwhelming the department's limited manpower.

“We don't have the resources to take of this every weekend or every other weekend, we`re volunteer and volunteerism is down,” said Miller.

Council sent a letter to Senator John Yudichak, asking if the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources could take over Glen Onoko and make it a state park, which would free up grant money.

That money could be used to make those trails safer.

“Go up, dress the trails up,” said Yaich.  “Color code the trails, people all get on the trails and they're telling what trail they're on when the last rescue we had they weren`t.”

“Repurpose the trails, they have to clean up the trails, they have to make them safe, they have to code them, at the very least they have to code somehow, color code them,” said Miller.


  • Nell Jones

    It isn’t just a promotion problem for volunteers. It takes money to keep the trucks running and the equipment up to date. The volunteers give more than most.

  • Chris

    @ wannabes and @ Allen
    It really is a shame Volunteer Fire Companies have such a bad rep.
    Maybe the two of you (and myself) could help change that. I have thought about joining but was always deterred.

    • Whom shall I send?

      Why were you deterred? Most people have no idea the amount of personal sacrifice and dedication it takes to become a proficient firefighter or rescue tech. Then after all the hours you train and practice, you put some more in for fund raising because there’s bills to be paid. Find a company that puts an emphasis on teamwork and professionalism, and weeds out the whackers and drunks. It’s still a thankless job, but some people out there still recognize your efforts. If it’s my house on fire or my family that needs cut out of a car, I want the best out there. If not you, then who? You can make a difference, it’s just not easy.

      • You're not worth my trouble

        Down-vote all you want. You people that blast the fire companies are the same pillocks that bash the police. But they’re also the first people you call when you need help. Wouldn’t it be funny if some day they just decided not to show up? You people that hate the firemen and cops so much should have signs on your house and wear ID bracelets so we know who doesn’t want our help.

      • bingo is king

        You firefighters never realized how unspecial you really are until these posts come along huh? Lol! Maybe if you put another blue light on your pickup truck you can gain some more authority from us posters.

      • Bingo was his name-o

        Ooh, bingo – you got us there, that really hit us where it hurt. The opinions from Oma’s basement dwellers and habitual drunks mean so much to us. So, over the past year, what have you done to serve and protect your community, or complete strangers traveling through? That’s what I thought. Now run along and go play Pokemon while the responsible adults take care of business. BTW, I have neither a pickup or blue light, but I do drive a great big red truck that will put the fire out in your basement bedroom while you’re cooking meth or free-basing.

  • wannabes

    Dont let this jim thorpe fire dept fool you. As will all fire depts, these guysc and i suppose a few uncouth gals love to go out and play hero. It make them feel important. Almost as if they have a little athority. These are the people who couldnt handle a police academy so they settled for bingo, beer and a broken self-esteem.

    • Allen

      You hit the nail on the head. They all sit around the bar talking about “the big one” they’re all hoping for someday and who’s fire truck works better. Yet they bicker among themselves constantly as well as other departments. Put that along with the firefighter T-shirt, license plate, and window stickers, ya gotta wonder. It’s volunteer… and you’re complaining about 1 call a month to the place. And before ya use the line what if no one did, they’ll always be some whacker looking to stick a rediculous blue light on their car and play hero.

      • Serve or shut it

        Think you two keyboard warriors can do better – step up and volunteer. Otherwise, you’re no better than the ones you criticize. I’m in the fire rescue service, and I’ll agree that some volunteers and some companies have lots of room for improvement. But there are some good volunteers and companies as well that work their butts off – it’s the whackers and t-shirts that give us all a bad name. The good ones are getting tired of the apathetic self-absorbed public that think the rules and laws of society don’t apply to them, causing unnecessary calls and putting others at risk. So while you’re having that cold one grilling the burgers this weekend, some volunteer out there is sweating their backside off on a call. Put up or shut up.

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