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Volunteer fire department funding controversy in York County

MOUNT WOLF, YORK COUNTY, Pa. --  A York County volunteer fire company's funding is creating some controversy.

East Manchester Township isn't releasing Eagle Fire Company's funds for this year because of an ongoing police investigation at the fire company.

The chief says about $70,000 dollars is being withheld, and they can’t buy new gear, new uniforms, or worry about their fire trucks until they get that money.

"We have new recruits trying to come in, and we have to put them in expired gear because we don’t have any extra gear for them, and we’re holding off on making big purchases due to the fact we’re not getting funding coming into the department," said Jacob Bush, Chief of Eagle Fire Company.

"The money is being withheld because there is an ongoing theft investigation at the fire company," said Dave Gentzler, the manager of East Manchester Township.

The Northeastern Regional Police Chief told FOX43 someone associated with the department stole a few thousand dollars in cash from a fundraiser over the summer.

He said it's the first time he can remember investigating the fire company.

Police can’t figure out who did it because a number of people had access to the money.

“I feel like our board should be congratulated for holding that money. Why would we give hard earned tax payers money to an entity that has a theft investigation that has not been resolved?" added Gentzler.

"They’re kind of worried about that, which we understand, but at the same sense, when that happened, those people it is against are no longer here, and it’s under investigation, we’ve done everything the township has asked us to do and then some," added Bush.

The township’s board of supervisors is standing firm, demanding an internal audit of the company, that professional is hired to keep track of the company’s money, and stricter policies.

The fire chief says he's prepared for a fight.

"We’re going to take this as far as it needs to go for us to get our funding and to be treated fairly within the community," said Bush.

It’s worth noting, during an official township meeting, a chairman said he’d form a committee to create a checks and balances for Eagle Fire Company to follow. Firefighters say that committee was never formed.

The township manager says they won’t release the funding until the investigation is over and those three criteria are met.