After 20 years, alliance still places safety over politics

A logical answer to manpower and response time concerns.

That is just the start of what was realized two decades ago when the city and Old Lycoming Township entered into a firefighting alliance that involved shared resources.

The alliance was formed a few years after the city closed a fire station on Reighard Avenue in the Newberry neighborhood. Residents there, as well as those in the township where reliance was placed on the availability of volunteers, became increasingly concerned about response times.

With the new alliance, the township provided equipment and living quarters. The bureau provided staffing around-the-clock and the township supplemented the firefighting force with volunteers.

This joint operation was a form of regionalization that also reduced taxpayer expenses through cost sharing.

It came together during the tenure of former Mayor Steven W. Cappelli, who called it one of his “proudest achievements as mayor.”

He has a right to be proud of this achievement, just as those whom he credited for its successful formation — township Fire Chief Dave Shirn, now a township supervisor, and then city Fire Chief Jon Kemp, now a district judge in Muncy Creek Township.

In celebrating 20 years of the alliance recently, Kemp pointed out that this arrangement placed public safety over local politics.

Two decades later, the alliance appears to be as healthy and strong as ever and has served both communities well. It is a local success story worthy of being emulated elsewhere.

It did not happen alone. It required people to look beyond their geographic boundaries and get beyond any parochial tendencies.

Residents of both communities are fortunate to have had a proactive team of people that were willing to think outside of the box in a mutually beneficial way, and then to move forward and make it happen.

We love it when logic leads the way.


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