Category: Kittanning Township

New Fire Zones Approved in North Buffalo

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney (standing) has been working on new

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney (standing) has been working on new “zones” for volunteer departments that respond into North Buffalo Township for a few months, and supervisors approved of the new map last night.

by Jonathan Weaver

Volunteer fire companies that service North Buffalo Township will have designated zones to protect, possibly as soon as this weekend.

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney proposed working on re-drawing the zones after a July non-reportable accident along the Judge Graff Bridge attracted emergency crews from six neighboring departments.

Chief Feeney said most homeowners are now in designated zones so that “first-alarm” fire companies from Applewold Borough, East Franklin Township, Kittanning Hose Company #1, Ford City, Ford Cliff, West Kittanning, and Worthington-West Franklin fire departments are within five miles of their property.

However, some residents could live as far as six miles away from a fire station. North Buffalo Township is approximately 25-miles.

“Everything’s done – we did several revisions on it,” Chief Feeney said. “We had a couple changes we had to make to realign some things for the insurance company.”

Chief Feeney said fire personnel from the volunteer departments also have the responsibility of maintaining updated paperwork for passable insurance ratings.

“The lines are a reference, but it’s not a dead-straight line,” Chief Feeney said. “We’re not cutting a house in half. There’s a lot of work identifying each residence in that zone.”

He explained at least four fire departments will respond to a house fire and at least two departments will jointly cover emergencies such as gas leaks, vehicle accidents and brush fires.

After an executive session with fire department personnel, supervisors David Wolfe, Clark Whiteman and Paul Kirkwood adopted the designated zone map unanimously at their monthly meeting last night and thanked fire department personnel for their diligence.

“They’ve done a great job for the township,” Wolfe said.

Fire departments responded to a pair of emergency calls in the township during the past month.

Supervisor Chair Wolfe and Chief Feeney are to review the plan with Armstrong 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers in Rayburn Township as soon as later this week.

Also, Chief Feeney was unanimously named North Buffalo Fire Marshal.

Supervisors are also to discuss maintaining a fire engine at the township building to enable quicker response if possible.

Fire Chief Comments on Towing Owner’s Arrest

Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Baker confirmed to

Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Baker confirmed to “David and Friends” Radio Host David Croyle yesterday morning that the fire department never sent a bill to Mohney’s Towing – which is accused of fraudulent charges.

A local fire department denies being connected connected to a regional towing company owner arrested and accused of fraud last week spoke out yesterday morning.

The accusations made by Pennsylvania State Police officials against Mohney’s Towing owner Max Mohney include a fraudulent $800 charge for traffic control by Kittanning Township volunteer firefighters after a March 2015 commercial coal truck crash along Route 422 – a fee Kittanning Township Fire Chief Steve Baker confirmed never was invoiced.

“We never turned anything in – (Mohney) gave us a donation at that time,” Chief Baker said. “He was going to sponsor a gun on our (drawing) ticket and we just assumed it was for the gun and the rest (of the donation) was just for helping out at various accidents.

“We’re not permitted by law, and we never turned an invoice in.”

Chief Baker said volunteer firefighters “survive by fundraising.”

“We totally support ourselves,” Chief Baker said. “Last year, we took it upon ourselves (to raise) $400,000 for a truck for the lower end of the township, the substation (in Shay), after the truck was 32 years old. We had a hard time finding parts for it (so) we applied for various federal grants numerous times and were turned down – that alone is $1,000 bill a month we pay.

“To be tied into something like this is very disturbing because the ladies and men of this fire department work very hard to do things the right way.”

The new truck – a 2015 Ford F-550 mini-pumper – replaced a 1982 GMC. It costs firefighters about $1,000 per month for the next nine years.

Kittanning Township volunteer firefighters continue fundraising through their Fall turkey dinners – which are held the second Sunday of each month and served more than 500 people earlier this month. Weekly BINGO, jewelry bashes, flea markets and other fundraisers are also on the schedule to help pay electric, gas and fuel costs – not counting regular apparatus bills.

Kittanning Township's newest apparatus - a 2015 Ford F-550 mini-pumper - was added to the department vehicle roster last September (KP File Photo)

Kittanning Township’s newest apparatus – a 2015 Ford F-550 mini-pumper – was added to the department vehicle roster last September (KP File Photo)

Volunteer firefighters are looking forward to annual state grants to purchase firefighting equipment. Kittanning Township hopes to use their portion toward debt reduction.

The fraudulent claims to insurance companies for traffic control by Kittanning Township and Rayburn Township volunteer firefighters led to four third-degree felony charges among the 20 in total assessed against Mohney.

An emergency towing list of pricing Mohneys Towing provided the Kittanning state police barracks in December 2014 indicated the fraudulent charges surpassing $18,000.

While Mohney was released on his own recognizance last week at arraignment, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for the beginning of October.