PLUM TOWNSHIP, Venango County —
Chapmanville Volunteer Fire Department was re-certified as an active fire department Tuesday night by the Plum Township Board of Supervisors. The department officially returned to service at midnight nearly five months after being decertified by township supervisors over financial concerns within the department.
It was an emotional night for Roger Sterling, who has been with the fire department for a decade, and Sam Firster, who has spent the past 30 years at the department.
“When it was all said and done, we were trying to talk to the community and we were fighting back tears,” Sterling, Chapmanville VFD president, told the Tribune Tuesday night. “It doesn’t get much better than this.”
Sterling said about 45 members of the community turned out for Tuesday night’s meeting, which included the naming of the fire department’s officers. In addition to Sterling being named president, the following are the other officers named:
Wearne Cook Jr., fire chief; Sam Firster, assistant chief; Francis Cook, third chief and vice-president; Brandon Firster, fourth chief; Rich Wright, fire captain; Justin Bryers, first lieutenant; Jeff Brennen, second lieutenant; and Katie Sterling, emergency medical services chief.
The 911 emergency dispatch centers in Venango and Crawford counties were notified the department was in operation, and the department’s operation went into effect at midnight.
Chapmanville VFD, based in Plum Township, Venango County, was providing fire protection and emergency services for parts of Plum Township as well as parts of Troy Township in southeastern Crawford County.
Troy Township has been served by volunteer fire companies from Hydetown and Townville; and Plum has been served by the Venango County fire companies of Oakland, Cooperstown and Cherry Tree since the decertification order went into effect Nov. 7, 2012. Supervisors requested all officers within Chapmanville VFD at the time resign and then decertified the department when not all did.
Chapmanville VFD’s former treasurer, Kimberly Keener, 41, of Titusville, was arrested March 18 by Pennsylvania State Police on theft charges. She is awaiting trial in Venango County Court of Common Pleas.
Pennsylvania State Police have accused Keener of misappropriating thousands of dollars while she was treasurer for the Chapmanville VFD, dispersing funds to herself and her mother. She is charged with one count each of theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception.