The Holmdel Township Committee eliminated the 97-year-old Fire Company No. 1 amid complaints that the company failed to respond to calls and refused to provide mutual aid and concerns that a lack of training would render it uninsurable, reports nj.com.
“I am very comfortable at this point with the decision that was made,” Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said. “I think that Fire Company No. 1 needs to get their act together regarding training. That’s really all I can say at this point.”
Earlier this month, Committeeman Greg Buontempo pushed a plan to consolidate Holmdel’s fire protection into Fire Company No. 2, eventually deploying resources to three different stations throughout the township.
“We have confirmed that Fire Company No. 1 has not trained in the last year and a half,” Buontempo said. “Fire Company No. 1 has also reported inaccurate statements on their training.”
The failure to meet mandatory training requirements means that Holmdel can no longer insure the department.
“We have no choice,” Deputy Mayor Eric Hinds said. “There are certain requirements that are not being met which puts us at liability. God forbid something happened and we didn’t do anything about it.”
Buontempo explained that Fire Company No. 1 failed to respond to mandatory calls, called ‘all calls,’ that required both of the township’s fire companies to respond.
“As we have been reviewing for weeks into months we have been able to ascertain that there have been confirmed times when Fire Company No. 1 has been unable to respond to calls and Fire Company No. 2 has had to respond for them,” Buontempo said, listing some of more than 30 reported incidents where the company failed to respond, including several calls to schools and hospitals.
But Doug Ziemba, president of Fire Company No. 1, said the company was responding to calls all along.
“For the record, Fire Company No. 1 has responded to more calls on their side of town than they have,” Ziemba said. “There are no ’30 incidents,’ you can check.”
Buontempo also said one of the township-owned fire engines owned and operated by the company was in a state of disrepair that rendered in inoperable.
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