Lebanon County's Speedwell resumes fire calls following leadership change

Written by Daniel Walmer/The Lebanon Daily News | Apr 3, 2018 9:06 AM

A sign in front of the Speedwell Fire Company firehouse, pictured on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (Photo: By Daniel Walmer)

(Lebanon) -- The Speedwell Fire Company has resumed answering fire calls this morning after it was reinstated by the West Lebanon Township commissioners Monday night.

The move ends a more-than three month period of silence after the commissioners suspended the department's ability to be dispatched in December when it learned that firefighters had driven fire apparatus to a call while under the influence of alcohol.

The commissioners were expected to consider reinstating Speedwell in March. Instead, they extended its suspension another month after a report from Lebanon Fire Commissioner Duane Trautman expressed ongoing concerns.

Since, then, however, Speedwell has been working with the township to make improvements that convinced all five commissioners it was ready to return to service.

Most importantly to commissioner John Brenner, the fire company made a series of leadership changes following the March meeting. Mark Leiss returned to the role of president, which he once held for 25 years.

Morale among Speedwell membership is good, Leiss said.

"The fire company's been doing what (the commissioners) felt we needed to do," he said. "It was a bitter learning experience...and now we're going to move forward."

Still, that ability to move forward will come with increased scrutiny. 

"Like I said to them, it's not over, there are a lot of people watching, so you've got to do what's right. And they're doing what's right so far," township commissioner Harry Fox said.

Township officials said they will instruct Lebanon County to place Speedwell back in service as of 10 a.m. Tuesday.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The Lebanon Daily News

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