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Eastern Derry Twp. VFD Closure Leads To Heated Meeting

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Worried neighbors want to know why their fire department can't answer calls.

First responders and residents packed the Derry Township Supervisors meeting Tuesday night.

The Eastern Derry Township Volunteer Fire Department has been closed for six days.

The department relies on a yearly donation from the township to buy insurance, but the company did not receive the $30,000 it was counting on in July.

Without the funds to pay insurance premiums on the fire trucks, the firefighters can not operate the vehicles.

Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Vince DeCario insists the township did not directly shut down the fire department. He says it's only a matter of insurance.

Members of the department were puzzled and angered.

"According to the community, we're closed down!" yelled Assistant Chief Scott Schweiger.

"All we did is take you off the (911) read-out. We have to do that," responded DeCario. "You have to talk to your attorney. Have him answer that. I can't answer if you're closed down."

The department needs at least $3,000 to pay its insurance on the trucks. The solicitor says the crew can legally raise funds from community donations, so the men and women are planning a fundraising campaign.

VFD Secretary Regina Bollinger told KDKA's Kym Gable, "We're going to try to get the community to stand behind us and hopefully donate. We're out there to save the community. As far as I know, we get insurance, we're back open. But as of right now, it's waiting for our attorney, to have a meeting with him."

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