North Amityville Volunteer Fire Company shut down amid allegations of dangerously long response times and harassment – CBS New York

NORTH AMITYVILLE, NY (CBSNewYork) – A volunteer fire company on Long Island has been shut down over allegations of dangerously long response times and potentially criminal wrongdoing.

Fire trucks and ambulances are not going anywhere in North Amityville after the volunteer fire company was fired, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.

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Callers receive a busy signal. Emergencies are dispatched to the surrounding departments.

Babylon City Supervisor Rich Shaffer said the unprecedented shutdown is based on a litany of allegations, including shockingly long response times.

“Up to an hour for an ambulance to arrive,” Shaffer said. “We knew we couldn’t just sit back and let this continue. “

Shaffer said it’s a matter of life and death that has been discussed in meetings for years.

The department asked for more money and received it. But the dysfunction has persisted amid allegations of harassment, threats of violence, fire chiefs invalidating an election and embezzlement of public funds, including a questionable trip to the Caribbean and Florida.

“You can call it a boys club, you can call it an out of control fraternity house,” Shaffer said.

“It’s a culture steeped in high levels of mismanagement,” said John Coverdale, consultant at the Center for Workplace Solutions.

The city sent Coverdale, who said he was shocked by substantial allegations of bullying and sexual harassment.

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“The language involved that was so inappropriate and the actions so inappropriate that were presented to the board for consideration and for all practical purposes were completely ignored,” Coverdale said.

Coverdale said new volunteers have been suspended for voicing opposition, leading to a staff shortage.

A firefighter’s lawyer said the city was misinformed.

“Our belief is that this was a rash and unfounded and unjustified decision,” said attorney Brad Pinsky. “Unfortunately, there is a small internal conflict within the company.”

Taxpayers spend $ 3 million a year on their fire department.

“It’s pretty sad. We need it, ”said one person.

“If you have an emergency, who are you going to call? Another said.

Shaffer said he plans to install a receiver, an outdoor fire professional, to present a remedial plan to reopen the fire department as soon as possible.

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The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office issued subpoenas in connection with the investigation, but declined to comment on the case.