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North Catasauqua's firefighters return after walking off job

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 07 2014 04:05:43 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 05:31:24 PM CST

What do you do when the majority of your firefighters decide to walk off the job?

NORTH CATASAUQUA, Pa. -

What do you do when the majority of your firefighters decide to walk off the job? It's a problem the borough of North Catasauqua in Northampton County faced Monday night.

For more than 100 years, the "Fightin' Limies" have defended the borough from fire, but during a council meeting, the "Fightin' Limies" became the "quitting limies."

"It was pretty much the majority of the fire department, up to 15 people, resigned," said Asst. Chief Shawn McGinley. "To my knowledge, it was probably the first time we had a fire department with little to no firefighters."

McGinley said the volunteer fire company selected its officers, chiefs and assistant chiefs, but council didn't approve the picks. Instead, council placed others in leadership positions within the fire company.

McGinley said the firefighters were offended and stood by their brothers with a walk out.

"They looked at is as that is the people they entrusted, the people they elected. For over 100 years this process has been going on, and council always took the recommendations of the fire department," said McGinley.

69 News reached out to members of North Catasauqua council to get their side of the story. Several members said they didn't want to comment on the matter.

McGinley said the borough enacted its mutual aid agreement with Catasauqua and Northampton, and overnight talk of a compromise started to grow. 

"Calmer heads prevailed and realized we are there for the taxpayers. We are there for the community, and we can work out a solution.," said McGinley.

A special meeting with fire officials and council is expected to take place next week. In the meantime, McGinley said the 15 firefighters are back on the job and will work with their mutual aid partners to keep the borough safe.

North Catasauqua Mayor Bill Molchany released the following statement in regard to the situation:

"Despite recent events concerning the North Catasauqua Fire Department, there has been no, nor will there be, any disruption of fire protection to the North Catasauqua residents. At this time, the borough council and the fire department are in discussions to address the current situation."