It’s no secret that all over the country there is a shortage of volunteer firefighters and volunteer members in general. But what seems to be kept a secret is how members in certain departments are treated.
Liberty fire company is a volunteer fire company located in North York Borough Pennsylvania. Since June, this fire company has lost around 10 members (some being top responders who live in the borough and some being trustees and the treasurer), due to the treatment and bullying of members. Before I go into detail, I will start by saying not all members on borough council are engaging in this behavior and not all fire company members are engaging in this behavior. There are still some good kind hearted people left.
On July 3, 2019, a top responder who happens to be handicapped was pushed off the fire engine by another firefighter while responding to a call as well as beat in the head with a helmet. The body of the department then suspended the two members in the altercation for 30 days, which was reasonable being that it should have never happened and it delayed response time; however, the disabled firefighter who was attacked, was expelled before his suspension was even up due to incidents that were already discussed with him up to 10 years ago and some incidents were even made up. He had been a member of the department for almost 11 years and asked to be able to resign instead of being expelled, but the department refused to let him do it. The firefighter who assaulted him was able to return after his suspension and still continues to harass people including making fun of a prior members little girl who has autism calling her an “inbread retard” on a Facebook group chat.
One of the other members expelled that same evening had witnessed a woman who is borough appointed to help the fire company with fundraising verbally attack me. This member attempted to mediate the situation and tell the borough appointed woman to leave the firehouse, but she would not. After members of the department reviewed the footage, they stated that the member who was trying to mediate the situation was to be expelled due to it looking like she escalated the matter. We all asked to see the footage, even a trustee of the fire company asked to see the footage, and it suddenly vanished without any of us getting to review it. The member who was expelled came to a council meeting and spoke up about how the comments and harassment she had to go through about her daughter with autism made her so depressed she attempted to commit suicide. Even though one of the members harassing her happened to be the borough appointed assistant fire chief (she brought proof and showed council what was said), it was voted for him not to be removed or put on administrative leave and he is currently still assistant chief. Not to mention, before she was even expelled, she went to the fire chief numerous times, once in front of me, who is also borough appointed and informed him that the harassment and bullying was causing her to become depressed and want to commit suicide. Nothing was done and suddenly she was expelled and made to look like a trouble maker and a liar at the borough council meeting.
Next, I was suspended due to consuming alcohol (adult slushie) in the social hall waiting for a monthly meeting to start. Mind you there were 6 other members who openly admitted they were drinking too, but somehow they only saw me on this footage. Once again, footage disappeared without me getting to even see it or a trustee getting to see it. I continued to tolerate the harassment and bullying that was being done to me because as the head of fundraising, I truly did care about raising funds for that department and I knew I had a job to do. I served my suspension and came back ready to do a naughty bingo with a pure romance consultant we had been meeting with since March/April 2019. On 9/21/19 we had the naughty bingo and we only had about 19 people playing bingo. I knew the fire company was going to take a loss that day by the middle of the bingo and I prepared myself for the beating I was going to take on the station Facebook group chat. Also on that day, one of the members of borough council who is also Vice President of the borough and the liaison between the borough and fire company, as well as a fire company member, came walking in insisting he be the bingo caller after one of the members of the fundraising committee had already set up the machine and was ready to go. When he found out he was not going to be the caller, he was so disrespectful and rude to the pure romance consultant there that she almost packed her things up and left and her girlfriends who were playing bingo were about to leave with her. After one of the committee members figured out what was going on, she immediately took the consultant outside and made a phone call to the borough appointed fire chief who stated he’d take care of it.
After the bingo, the comments started coming in on the group chat towards me and the fundraising committee about how it was all solely our fault and the consultants fault for only selling 19 out of 100 tickets and that I as well as the fundraising committee had a “learning curve”. Mind you none of these members harassing the committee helped out at the bingo nor offered to sell any tickets for the event.
On September 29, 2019, 2 members from the fire company decided to trespass into my home and hand me 20 bingo tickets for another upcoming event stating they refuse to help sell any tickets and so does the same council member who verbally attacked the pure romance consultant. These two members also decided to record me in my home without my consent and upload it to social media a few days later. Fortunately, my surveillance system picked up all of this and the police are now investigating all of this. Right after those members left my home, I contacted the borough appointed fire chief and told him what had happened. He seemed to just brush it off and tell me that if I wanted to resign as head of the fundraising committee he’d need to know by the meeting that Wednesday. I had asked him if I was going to be verbally attacked on Wednesday night at the fire company meeting Over taking a loss on our naughty bingo because I couldn’t handle anymore bullying. He stated he could not promise me anything but he didn’t see a reason to remove me as head of fundraising and he knows the bingo being unsuccessful was everyone’s fault collectively. However, he stated if he has the majority come to him and tell him to remove me, he has to go with the majority. So I wrote my statement and resignation letter and resigned. Along with me, the captain of fire police resigned, the treasurer resigned, and the rest of the fundraising committee.
When we all resigned, of course we had a trustee sign for everything we turned in including the treasurers books. In her books was the profit and loss report from the naughty bingo and the itemized invoice from the pure romance consultant that we paid for the prizes for our naughty bingo. Everything was quiet for a while until the pure romance consultant reached out to me and let me know that the woman borough appointed for fundraising that now took my spot over as head of fundraising, was harassing her for an itemized invoice. I let the consultant know once again that that was just turned in to a trustee. Still to this day, the fire company continues to lie and say they were given no such invoice and report from the committee. The new head of fundraising even went as far as threatening the pure romance consultant that she was going to call corporate and get her fired. So, the pure romance consultant decided to come to the borough council meeting October 8, 2019 and inform council of how she was treated by the man on council and how she was threatened and harassed by the new appointed head of fundraising over an invoice she already gave. The reaction at the borough meeting was hard to digest due to members of borough council saying they could not do anything about the actions of this councilman as he was not acting as council when he went to call bingo that day. Mind you this is the same councilman that has sexually assaulted multiple women and got away with it and has scared everybody from speaking out against him with threats of calling the code enforcer for the borough on peoples homes and other acts of that nature. The pure romance consultant, who had the courage to speak up against him was turned away and made a fool of when all she was trying to do was help the firehouse raise funds in the first place. This firehouse has had several vendors publicly come out and say they will not do business with them after this incident and their are many people who refuse to go to their events because of this as well. When is enough really enough? How many people are going to need to be threatened, bullied, and harassed by this administration and the fire company? Numerous people have spoken up at fire company meetings and somehow within a few months their basically ousted. If you speak up at a council meeting they will tell you there’s nothing they can do because the fire company is a separate entity, which in all reality if you have contracts signed between borough appointed chiefs and the borough as well as the firehouse lease in the boroughs name, it’s pretty clear that this is ONE big entity that is abusing its power and bullying people. Not to mention, the pure romance consultant that attended the borough council meeting was verbally attacked outside while trying to walk to her car by the same woman who trespassed into my home who STILL belongs to the fire company.
A change is needed in North York Borough and even though I know I’m going to catch backlash for starting this, I am doing the right thing and standing up for those who have cried out to be heard like myself who haven’t gotten the chance to be heard due to this administration. I’ve had people from all over the country reach out to me since I wrote my resignation statement on Facebook and share with me their story of being ousted and pushed out of their fire company as well. This needs to stop! Communities need their volunteers and so does the fire service!
I challenge the borough officials of North York Borough Council to not only issue a public apology to those who have gone through harassment and retaliation for speaking up, but I also challenge them to encourage the current councilman that is currently the Vice President who has engaged in several behaviors and acts that show unprofessionalism to resign.
I also challenge liberty fire company to issue a public apology to those who have been ousted and harassed and bullied. Additionally, I challenge them to remove the members who have harassed and attacked other members as well as past members.