Mount Wolf fire company makes changes after theft

Eagle Fire Company in Mount Wolf Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

Eagle Fire Co.'s chief says the financially struggling department has made changes since a theft of funds earlier this year — and he hopes the moves will convince East Manchester Township to release a donation it has been withholding.

The fire company, which serves the eastern part of the township and Mount Wolf, intends to present those changes to the township's board of supervisors at their Tuesday, Nov. 13, meeting, Fire Chief Jake Bush said Friday, Nov. 9.

The township is withholding about $70,000 from the fire company until the investigation into the theft is completed, the chief has said.

In the meantime, Bush said, the department is relying on fundraising and its savings for daily operations, but the money is "quickly dwindling away."

More:Eagle Fire Co. blames E. Manchester for funding problems

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Theft: Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo told The York Dispatch on Wednesday, Nov. 7, that the department is investigating a large sum of money taken from the fire company after a Mother's Day fundraising event this year.

“It appears to be several thousand dollars," he said.

Rizzo said the investigation is nearing completion, but no arrests have been made. The theft, he said, was reported a few weeks after the fundraiser.

Since the theft came to light, the fire company has undergone changes. Bush said the previous leadership has left the fire company, but he added that he's not saying that leadership was responsible for the theft.

Among the changes outlined was a new procedure for handling money from fundraising events. Now, only certain people can handle the funds at the events, the fire company said.

Safeguards also were instituted so those chosen to handle the money have to sign off on the responsibility for the funds. An internal document was created and will be used for managing the funds, the fire company said.

Additionally, background checks and child-clearance checks will be done when anyone applies to become a new member, according to the company. 

On Friday, Bush said some of the changes were made recently, while others were made right after the theft.

Funding: The fire chief said Wednesday that East Manchester Township's supervisors were withholding the money until the conclusion of the theft investigation.

Township supervisors either did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment.

Bush said the fire company was supposed to get about $70,000 in donations from the township.

The chief noted that the money is something the fire company receives yearly as a donation for the services, and the township is not under an obligation to provide the money.

Additionally, he added that should the township not release the money by the end of the year, the funds will go into the township's budget for next year, and there's no guarantee the company will receive it.

Bush said East Manchester gave the fire company about $19,000 in relief money, and Mount Wolf contributed $10,000 so far this year. But that isn't enough, he said.

The fire company detailed the situation on its Facebook page last week.

Since then, Bush said the fire company has seen support from residents.

"We've seen a lot of feedback from the community," he said.

The township's next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday,  at the township office at 5080 N. Sherman St.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.