Speedwell Fire Company in Lebanon County suspended amid allegations of members responding to call while intoxicated

WEST LEBANON TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. -- Suspended from service: A Lebanon County volunteer fire company has been shut down after officials say several members responded to a call while under the influence of alcohol.

A West Lebanon township official says several firefighters who were on that call were intoxicated.

The Speedwell Volunteer Fire company in West Lebanon Township sits empty for now, taken out of service by the township after a formal complaint was filed against some of its members, claiming 7 out of 9 volunteers responding to a call were intoxicated.

“It ain't got nothing to do with being a volunteer. If you're getting a million dollars an hour or you’re a volunteer, common sense should tell you, ‘I shouldn’t be on that truck drunk,'" said Gordon Pierce, a neighbor.

"We all do things maybe we shouldn't do at times, but they're volunteers. They work hard for the township, and it's a shame something like this had to happen," said Sally Templin, a neighbor.

Templin says she was at a bar and saw the firefighters December 14th, the night the complaint was filed.

“I just saw some happy guys there. They were celebrating the election they had with the fire company and having a good time," explained Templin.

She said they didn’t look drunk and were only there for a short time.

“I mean I had no qualms about it… I think, it was just the situation, but I don’t think it was really dangerous," said Templin.

Township officials didn’t see it that way and say the volunteers are considered employees and can never be intoxicated on the job.

“I’m not trying to pinpoint them particularly, but common sense should tell anybody you shouldn’t be on the job drinking," added Pierce.

A township official says there’s been numerous complaints filed against the company but none as serious as this one.

For now, Ebenezer Fire Company, a little more than a mile away from Speedwell, is taking all of Speedwell's calls with help from Lebanon City Fire.

"We all make mistakes in life, and maybe that was bad judgement," said Templin.

"Even if they do reinstate them, I hope they learn their lesson," said Pierce.

There is a public meeting set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. Officials plan to discuss what’s next for the company then.