It comes after a 16-year-old boy was critically injured during a botched training session. Despite receiving at least $10,000 a year in tax payer support, the fire company has refused to release details about who was in charge of the training exercise. The company held a meeting urging members not to talk to the press.
The silence surrounds an incident on Mountain Spring Drive in Jackson Township. The Fire Chief Lester Wolcott admitted someone poured two and a half gallons of gas on a brush pile then set it on fire. That caused a burst of flames. A junior firefighter received first, second, and third degree burns. The chief said the teen's fire suit was not properly secured. He was airlifted to a hospital and spent four nights there.
Pennsylvania rules say junior firefighters should be supervised by someone who has a training certification. That did not happen in this case.
The fire chief has refused to say who was in charge of the training. He insisted he and his Assistant Chief Cliff Oppelt were not there Eyewitness News filed a Right to Know request for information on who called the 911 Control Center.
The document received shows Assistant Chief Oppelt made the contact. The fire chief said that just shows the man supervising the scene called Oppelt who then contacted 911. Wolcott admitted that could have caused a delay in care and said that the officer in charge made a mistake. Chief Wolcott added, "I regret any of this happened. That officer is now relieved of all of his officer duties pending the end of the investigation. I guarantee this will never happen again."
The chief said the boy is doing well and expects to return to the fire company next week.
Eyewitness News is withholding the boy's name at his family's request.
Chief Wolcott said he would support any new laws that require states to enforce rules that protect junior firefighters. Law makers have hesitated to propose those saying it could reduce the number of willing volunteers.
To read the original story go to http://pahomepage.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=276722