Lehigh Valley

Nearly a dozen Nazareth volunteer firemen resign

NAZARETH, Pa. - Several volunteer fire fighters at the Vigilance Hose Company in Nazareth walked off the job Monday night after an ongoing dispute with Chief John Deutsche.

Members who quit said they're upset with the fire department's decision to not revoke the lifetime membership of former Mayor Carl Strye, Jr. who was charged with embezzlement.

After he was charged, Strye resigned as mayor and was accepted into a first-time offender’s program (also called an ARD program) that will allow the charges to be cleared from his record if he successfully completes the program.

Deutsche said some members became upset with the department's decision and tension escalated.

"It's making us look like fools," Deutsche said. "But we're a good bunch of people hoping to get through this and move on."

"It hurts, really hurts to leave the fire department. We are a volunteer company," said John Ashworth.

Ashworth was one of about a dozen fire fighters who quit.

"It's a shame that there were a lot of personal vendettas that got between the guys at the fire house," he added.

Ashworth said several fire fighters who quit plan to volunteer with other local companies.

During a Nazareth Borough council meeting, council members said they were concerned that the drama would affect fire coverage for citizens.

"We have agreements with other local departments," said council member Jessica Teel.

Teel said local fire department's often work together and now will be no exception.

Borough council members also recommended the fire department separate its social club from the fire company.


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