Leonia Volunteer Fire Dept. Reinstated Following Alleged Molestation
LEONIA, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A northern New Jersey town has reinstated its volunteer fire department days after suspending it because a teen was accused of molesting a firefighter’s 3-year-old son behind a fire truck.
Leonia’s 60 or so volunteer firefighters will again be allowed to respond to emergencies and to maintain equipment. Only firefighters will be allowed in the firehouse.
The firefighters were all suspended for two days following the accusations against the 18-year-old developmentally disabled man.
“The administration needs to sit down with the fire company and work out what issues the municipality apparently has,” attorney Paul Kaufman, who represents the firefighters, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.
Police have accused 18-year-old Darius Levine of inappropriately touching the son of a firefighter last week. Firefighters allowed Levine, who has developmental disabilities, to spend time at the firehouse.
“If it happened in a school, would they have shut down the entire school? I don’t think so,” firefighters’ attorney Mark Semeraro told Putney. “What happened was not just a knee-jerk reaction, it was a knee-jerk overreaction.”
“There’s no allegation that anybody associated with the fire company did anything wrong,” Kaufman added.
Neighboring Teaneck and Fort Lee handled fire calls after the 115-year-old department was closed on Monday.
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