Updated: Nov 9, 2020
EAST NORRITON - Last night a random Facebook post appeared alerting the residents of East Norriton there was no fire protection for residents because Township had taken the whole department out of service.
Norriton Fire Company also issued a statement on this topic last night.
These posts spread like wildfire (pun intended) and East Norriton issues the following statement on Thursday around 3pm.
Statement from East Norriton - Many of you saw a social media post made late last night by the Norriton Fire Engine Company stating that their line officers had resigned due to differences with Township Officials. This notification blindsided Twp. EMS staff and administration as there was a scheduled meeting with fire company leadership for 1pm today to discuss routine operational procedures as well as proposed compliance procedures. Sadly, there is an abundance of misinformation circulating on social media that only serves to sow confusion and concern. After reading the Fire Company Facebook post, Twp. Officials decided, out of an abundance of caution and in the best interests of our residents, to take the Norriton Fire Company temporarily out of service as we found out more information regarding the sudden and completely unexpected resignation of their officers. Immediately, Twp. Admin contacted Montgomery County to ensure fire protection service to our residents through mutual aide. Twp. Administrators will be meeting with the Fire Company Officials to discuss their officers' actions and to ensure orderly and comprehensive fire protection coverage to our residents. Please be assured, East Norriton Township has four paid Twp. personnel that provide fire protection coverage five days each week from 7am until 5pm and are joined by the volunteer personnel. East Norriton Township residents should feel safe and secure as to their fire protection. Lastly, I expect both the Twp. and Norriton Fire Company to issue a joint statement sometime tomorrow.
East Norriton Township believes that volunteerism, especially in the fire service is one of the most noble and self-sacrificing commitments a citizen can make to their neighbors and community. As a Twp., we have supported our volunteer fire company to unprecedented levels through the purchase of fire trucks and the implementation of incentive programs to help provide the best service possible as well as to show our heartfelt appreciation for their selfless commitment to our community. In the last few months, we have contracted with a fire services consultant to provide a comprehensive study as to our long-term fire protection needs and goals. We have implemented a stipend program for our volunteers as well as zero-cost Twp. programs and services to help show our appreciation as well as to help retain and recruit new volunteers. We initiated these and other programs with the collaboration of the fire company leadership. For these reasons and more, we were shocked by the sudden and abrupt nature of their line officers' actions and rationale. We stood behind our volunteers when they came to us identifying operational concerns. The Township Board of Supervisors commissioned a 3rd party agency to perform a needs study so a long-term plan for fire protection could be developed. Our volunteers were and remain key stakeholders in this process.
East Norriton Twp. will be meeting with Norriton Fire Engine Company leadership and are confident that a fruitful and much needed collaborative relationship will develop. Please be mindful of the harmful and misleading social media comments as they are many times driven by personal agendas rather than true concern. Residents should know that East Norriton Township and the membership of Norriton Fire Engine Company share the same mission and goal of protecting the health, safety and welfare of our community.
East Norriton Twp.
This is clearly a developing story that we do not have both sides, but it is important for residents to be aware of this situation. This is not the first time a fire company and a town have disputed or been pulled from service, Conshohocken had a debacle with George Washington company not too long ago which lead to the Township hiding the equipment so it could not be used.
UPDATE - 11/06/2020 - We received word from the station stating full service has been restored as of 11/06/2020. Montco is no longer showing the station offline. We are hearing this dispute apparently arose over plans by the Township and Fire Marshal to implement paid staff without coordinating these efforts with the volunteers and officers from the fire company. This story is unverified but was relayed to us by someone close to the situation.
If you have information about this situation you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story photo credit: Norriton Fire Company Facebook page