BARNEGAT - A volunteer firehouse has been shut down to cut costs, but it's raising concerns among residents as to how long it will take to get help if they need it.
The Barnegat Township Committee voted Monday to shut down the Pinewood Volunteer Fire Company in order to save money. Padlocks were immediately placed on the doors.
Brooke Amsterdam and her fellow firefighters were greeted by police when they arrived at the house following the meeting. They went there after receiving word their company had been dissolved.
"We were told we were not allowed in … if we did, we'd be arrested," Amsterdam says.
Township Administrator David Breeden says he had to secure equipment owned by the township that was inside.
Pinewood has long served two large mobile home park communities. Breeden says Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company will now handle the whole township.
Mobile home residents say they are worried. "How's someone from Barnegat going to get their boots on, their gear on, get in their truck and be here in 15 minutes?" asks Theresa Graham. "It's not going to happen."
Breeden says response time will not be compromised because Barnegat Fire Company will occupy Pinewood's firehouse by the end of the week. Residents say they hope there are no emergencies before that happens.
Breeden says Barnegat will save more than $1 million with the shutdown. He says Pinewood firefighters who live in the municipality could apply to join Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company.