DARBY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County fire company accused of making racist remarks during a recorded Zoom call will permanently close. But the Delaware County Black Caucus wants local officials to take more action.
Soon the firehouse will be empty after the company has voluntarily disbanded. Members of the Black Caucus say that’s not enough because the firefighters at the center of these racial allegations could still work at another firehouse.READ MORE: 2 Montgomery County School Districts To Require Masks Again Due To County's COVID-19 Level
Following a 300-day suspension in February, the Briarcliffe Fire Company will voluntarily disband and cease operations. Members of the fire company are being accused of making racist slurs at the end of a Zoom call.
The Goodwill Fire Company released to the public those recordings where firefighters are heard calling Black firefighters the n-word and calling them lazy and even joking about Fanta Bility, the 8-year-old killed by police gunfire in Sharon Hill outside of a high school football game.
On Wednesday, Senator Williams said those firefighters who made those offensive remarks should no longer be allowed to serve as public servants.
“It’s not a matter of whether it did happen or didn’t happen, it’s on tape,” Williams said. “Those individuals can be identified and the members of that fire department can either decide, you know, we’re going to say, ‘We don’t want to associate with them anymore. These are the individuals that did it. We didn’t do it. We want to participate.’ Or all of them should serve the consequences of what all of us would.”
At the meeting, residents shared their feelings.
“There’s bad apples there,” one man said. “But I was always raised that if you had a barrel of apples and there was one bad apple in there, you didn’t throw them all away.”
That said, for the many residents living right by Briarcliffe, its disbanding has raised fears of lengthy, life-risking emergency response times.READ MORE: 5-Year-Old Boy Injured In North Philadelphia Shooting, Police Say
“I live at 641 Beach and the Briarcliffe Fire Company is just up the streets from my house,” one woman said. “A couple of times they’ve had to come for my mother-in-law and they were there in like minutes. What’s going to happen if something happens to me and my family getting to me on time, especially with a heart attack?”
Others still addressed the attendance and passion shared at the meeting.
“I wish there was this amount of outrage when this audio first came out, to know that public servants felt this way about not only their residents but one of the chiefs of Darby Township,” a resident said.
Williams made an appeal to everyone’s better angels.
“I want us to leave here tonight understanding what we all believe to be true about this township. It’s a lot further along than it used to be when I was a kid. And that we have an example we can set for other people,” Williams said.
What’s next? The borough council says they’re working to ensure all residents receive timely emergency service as needed.
As for punitive measures against those who made the offensive comments to cause this firestorm, we’ll have to wait and see.
Back at the start of these allegations, Eyewitness News reached out to Briarcliffe Fire Company for a response but did not hear back.MORE NEWS: EXCLUSIVE: Teen Pilot Who Landed Plane On Bridge In Ocean City Shares How He Survived New Mexico Plane Crash
CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey and Siafa Lewis contributed to this story.