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A Swatara Township fire company is suspended and no longer responding to calls after an investigation into reports that some members were being subjected to racial slurs, harassment and bullying.

Director of Fire Services Mike Ibberson said the Lawnton Fire Company was taken out of service on May 31. It is prohibited from responding to calls or participating in any EMS operations in Swatara Township until further notice.

Although a complaint of bullying was the catalyst for the suspension, Ibberson said there have been other issues with the fire company for months, such as lack of trained staff and failure to respond to numerous calls. The company had dwindled to about 10 active members in recent years, Ibberson said.

Ibberson made the decision to suspend the company with the approval of township commissioners.

The article goes on to state the following:

Other problems, said Ibberson, involve the lack of an adequate number of personnel to respond to alarms. There also were multiple personnel issues, such as a member of the company resigning in November 2017 after using racial slurs against another member, and the vice president resigning at the request of the deputy fire chief after the vice president and a trustee asked the current fire chief to resign in light of the “current state of affairs” with the company.

Ibberson clarified there have been no allegations and no indication of misappropriation or misuse of taxpayer funds.

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