Two Feuds in the Fire Law News

There are two fire department feuds in the fire law news today, one in Louisiana and the other in Pennsylvania.

In Louisiana, a dispute between elected officials in two communities threatens to disrupt emergency services in the City of Broussard.

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel says that if Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais refuses to drop a lawsuit over the annexation of a golf course, he will block the renewal an agreement for the Lafayette Fire Department to provide dispatch services for the Broussard Fire Department.

The agreement is set to expire at the end of April, and will potentially leave residents of Broussard with no way to obtain fire and rescue services.

The political finger pointing is going hot and heavy. Mayor Langlinais accuses President Durel of playing politics with peoples safety, and his attorney Gerald deLaunay told reporters "By trying to deny emergency fire service to family homes, schools and nursing homes, Mr. Durel and those who support him show their willingness to sacrifice human life for political reasons."

Not to be outdone President Durel replied "There is no health and safety issue here. … Anyone who says that is distorting the truth to the citizens of Broussard. If they truly believe there is a health and safety issue and they don't drop the lawsuit, that should outrage the people of Broussard. Life is full of choices. Their choice is lawsuit or services."

Politics, Louisiana style. Here is more on the story.

In Pennsylvania, an ongoing dispute in Bensalem Township made its way into federal court when a former fire chief and his son filed suit against township officials alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution, and violation of constitutional rights.

The suit was filed by David Jerri Sr., the former chief of the Union Fire Company, and his son, David Jr., who was charged with fraud over an alleged fire department workers comp claim. He was acquitted of all charges.

The men accuse Bensalem Township director of public safety Frederick Harran, of directing police to fabricate a story to substantiate the criminal charge. The suit also alleges that Harran twice shut down the fire company termorarily.

Here is more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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