I got this at my doorstep, as I came back from a very busy morning, and when I read this, I felt that ALL OF YOU needed to see this.
We as a concerned group of firefighters in Bensalem Township with experience ranging from 5 to more than 30 years of experience have begun meeting on a regular basis to discuss the condition of the volunteer fire service in Bensalem.
During our meeting the topic of the Union Fire Company came up. We have discovered the following information and confirmed it with our sources within the Union Fire Company and employees within the government of Bensalem who have become concerned about the failed leadership for the emergency services and no accountability for the actions of the Director of Public Safety and Fire Marshal’s office.
· The 5 person Advisory Board appointed by the Mayor in July of 2011 has met as a group with the Union Fire Company ONCE since its appointment.
· At the first meeting between the Union Fire Company and the 5 person Advisory Board, the Director of Public Safety admitted that he had no safety issues that justified shutting down the Union Fire Company. His “18 Safety Issues” turned into “talking points” which he REFUSED to talk about.
· There was no refusal, delay or miss-communication regarding a water supply for the paid fire company at a fire on State Road. The accusations were unfounded and without any basis!
· An outside the township fire chief had video and first person account of E-37 arriving on the scene and IMMEDIATELY giving its tank water to the paid engine company that had been trying to tie into a hydrant that they did not have the proper couplings for.
· This hydrant was reported to the Fire Marshal’s office for several years by the Union Fire Company with NO ACTION taken by the Fire Marshal’s office.
· Until mid-January 2012, NO ONE from the group interviewed the members of the Union Fire Company.
· The Advisory Board refuses to address the wrong doing by the Director of Public Safety. At the one meeting that all the members attended along with representatives of the Fire Marshal’s office (no explanation for their being present at the meeting was given to the fire company) the unwarranted shut down, interference with the fire boat project and unfounded complaints filed by the Director of Public Safety and the Deputy Director of Public Safety were not addressed. One member of the committee told the fire company (as did the Director of Public Safety); "we are moving forward from this point and will not discuss those issues." Can you imagine if the Director of Public Safety was called dangerous to the community and the emergency services, removed from office for no reason then returned to office only if he got rid on one of his high ranking officers? When it was discovered that there were no reasons to remove him he would simply go forward from that point without clearing his name? We don’t think so!
· The Union Fire Company was shut down in June 2011 by the Director of Public Safety without valid reasons, jeopardizing the public safety of the citizens it protects. The Mayor and one Councilman supported this shut down. When the Councilman was approached about the shutdown, he told one of our firefighters personally; “I have no idea what is going on, they don’t tell me anything”. Yet he sat at the table at the meeting held by the Mayor and Director of Public Safety.
· The rest of the fire companies (with the exception of one and the rescue squad) were kept in the dark regarding the actions taken against the Union Fire Company. Those members of the other fire companies that did question the actions were threatened with “the same thing could happen to us” by our leadership.
· In the 2011 Township budget, SOMEONE claimed that the Township was awarded a $750,000.00 Port Security grant. That someone was traced back to the Director of Public Safety! We checked with the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and the agency that is responsible for the Port Security Grant Program in Philadelphia. Not only did the Township not receive a $750,000.00 grant, there is no evidence that they EVER APPLIED for a grant through that agency!
· The Union Fire Company had their grant reviewed by numerous Federal agencies after complaints filed by the Director of Public Safety and the Deputy Director of Public Safety without any merit found to their complaints. Not only was the grant found valid, it continued to be approved and the new fire boat arrived after delays CAUSED by the Director of Public Safety.
· The Union Fire Company went through a 5 month FBI investigation after yet another complaint filed by the Director of Public Safety and the Deputy Director of Public Safety. This cost the fire company additional legal fees with the case being closed by the FBI in November with no charges filed.
· The Director of Public Safety continues to REFUSE to provide the SAFER grant to the public or the fire service in Bensalem. No action taken by the Mayor.
· The township training center now has structural issues and will never be able to provide smoke and heat fire training, despite what has been told to the fire service. In fact, the type of construction materials utilized to build the facility prohibits temperatures that simulate a building fire. A fully functional fire training facility has been built at NO CHARGE to the citizens of Bensalem that meets ALL the needs of the fire service in Bensalem. This facility is located less than a 10 minute drive from the Township border.
· Finally, how can a committee that has met once as a complete committee and after 6 months finally started meeting with the members of the Union Fire Company (yet they have met on numerous occasions with the Director of Public Safety and members of the Fire Marshal’s office) provide an impartial report to the government of Bensalem? The fact that they waited to speak with the members of the Union Fire Company until January of 2012 speaks volumes to us!
· The township and the Director of Public Safety owe an apology at the very least to the dedicated members of the Union Fire Company and the volunteer fire service as a whole in Bensalem. The behind the scenes deals, lack of information provided to the volunteer fire service and the continued lack of planning has resulted in an at best INCOMPETENT handling of the finances for the fire service and a clear lack of direction for the fire service.
Funny thing is that Haman will REFUSE to apologize, and he will deny this even more. Union Fire Co. I say this with all love....
GET OFF YOUR BEHINDS AND DEFEND YOURSELVES!! Quit "bowing to the image", that is 'Fear of Haman', go to the next council meeting, and don't be afraid to be heard! Go to the press, go on the offensive with this, and let all of Bensalem know the truth!!
EVIL TRIUMPHS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING!!