HOLMDEL - One of two Holmdel fire houses has been shut down amid allegations of insufficient training and poor leadership at the all-volunteer fire company.
The township committee voted unanimously to pass a resolution to shutter Fire Company No. 1 until they are convinced the house is being run properly.
"It came down to their members putting themselves at risk for not having the training which could then put our residents at risk," says committee member Gregory Buontempo. "Which then caused our issue with our insurance company not wanting to cover a fire company that does not do training on a routine basis."
Community members are concerned about their safety with one less fire house to respond to emergencies. It has been essentially closed since April 10, when officials moved the fire trucks to other locations. The fire company was told it would no longer be dispatched on fire calls.
Doug Ziemba, the president of the beleaguered fire company, disputes several of the complaints made Tuesday. "I can't say with any certainty how soon it would be," he says. "We do plan on having dialogue and moving forward whether it's a week, a month, a few months. Our goal is to come back and provide fire service for the township."
Committee members say the problems have existed for months. They say they will work with the 97-year-old fire company to address issues of training and response times with the goal of getting them back in service, once certain standards are met.