HAGERSTOWN —Strong words continued to be directed at Fairplay Fire Co. Monday night as a task force studying what to do about the suspended fire company discussed when to release its final recommendations about the fire department.
Task force chairman Paul Miller asked task force members whether they wanted to proceed with final recommendations while they wait for an inspection of the fire department by the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association or wait for the results of the inspection before proceeding.
The task force decided to wait for a report about the inspection before making final recommendations.
Dale Hill, president of the rescue association, said he expected the rescue association’s final report on its inspection of Fairplay to be completed by early December.
Comments between task force members and members of the Fairplay Fire Co. have been heated at times during the task force’s meetings and on Monday night at Rockland Woods Elementary School, task force member Steve Pifer expressed frustration over the process.
Pifer said Fairplay Fire Co. and its president, Bill Pennington, have held up information since the task force has been working on the situation.
“It’s time to end this one way or another. They either come back in service, Pennington gives us what we want, so we can get them back running or we find another way to put fire service and EMS service in this area,” Pifer said.
Fairplay Fire Co. members have been sitting at the table with task force members in past meetings but no members were there Monday night.
Speaking as a Fairplay area resident, task force member Tim Almany talked about the good service his community has been receiving from other county departments while the Fairplay Fire Co. has been suspended.
If keeping that level of service in the community means “chaining the door” to the Fairplay Fire Co. and turning the department into a social hall, “I’m all for it,” Almany said.
Task force member Charlie Summers asked Hill why it is taking so long for the association to conduct the inspection of Fairplay Fire Co.
Hill said there is a lot of information the rescue association had to obtain from Fairplay, including training records and turnout gear that had to be obtained from people’s houses. Then the information needs to be “cross-referenced,” Hill said.
“This is the first time it’s done anything like this,” said Hill, referring to the rescue association.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted in July to suspend Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. indefinitely for not responding quickly to enough to all of its calls.
The task force was asked to come up with possible solutions for getting the department efficiently running again.