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I-Team: West Hazleton Fire Officials Talk About Investigation

WEST HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Officials of the West Hazleton fire company who are the focus of a police investigation are speaking out tonight to the I-Team's Andy Mehalshick.

     The I-Team confirmed last week that detectives are looking into alleged financial discrepancies in the fire company.

 "We've had some problems. We took care of them on the inside. We took steps to make sure they don't happen again." said Klair Lemon.  He is president of the West Hazleton fire company. He says he and his fellow company officers have nothing to hide when it comes to the finances of the fire company.

  "We did have some problems with how we are spending the money. The whole body came together and wasn't happy that they weren't more involved in taking care of that.so steps are being followed lie bookkeeping and things like that." Lemon told us.

 The West Hazleton fire company is a separate legal entity which helps run the West Hazleton fire department.

 

The company raises it's own money and uses it to supervise volunteers and helps purchase equipment for the department.  Add to the problem - the fire company chief resigned last week citing health reasons.

Lemon told the I-Team that he doesn't believe police will find any criminal activity.

   As the police investigation moves forward, the borough council appointed Bob Ward as interim Fire Chief of the fire department. He isn't involved in the fire company but will over see the firefighting response.

"The morale is definitely a little low right now. We are meeting very often with the department to bring them up to par with what's going on. We can't change what happened in the past we are moving to what's going on in the future." said Ward

 

The investigation has people in this community voicing an all to frequent comment in this part of the state. 

 

 "There should bne better checks and balances. They should do a little better a accounting and hopefully, these problems won't occur again," said Tommy Fisher of West Hazleton,

We want to point out that no one has been formally accused of wrong doing and no criminal charges have  been filed in this case.


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