The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 4, 2013

Shade is turning to Central City for fire service

David Hurst

JOHNSTOWN — Shade Township is turning back to Central City for fire service.

Four years after a dispute between the two parties prompted Shade Township to turn to Richland Township’s department for coverage, a new five-year pact with Central City will end the Richland deal a year early, Richland supervisors said.

“We support their decision,” said Richland Supervisor Bob Heffelfinger, also Richland fire’s battalion chief. “At the end of the day, Shade and Central City were able to sit down and talk again. And that’s a good thing.”

Richland’s fire department stepped in late in 2009 after Shade Township officials couldn’t ink a new deal with Central City, whose volunteer force served their area for years. Shade’s board balked at paying $26,840 for fire protection from Central City, and instead, signed a five-year deal with Richland for $23,700 a year.

Since then, Richland has used a Shade-owned building in Cairnbrook as a satellite station, stationing three Richland fire trucks there. Shade Township’s own volunteers responded to day-to-day calls but were equipped with Richland’s breathing apparatus and other needs.

“There were no issues between us,” Heffelfinger added.

Shade Township Chairman John Topka suggested the same thing in a one-page letter to Richland, thanking the township for its years of “professional service.”

“You can be proud of your volunteer fire department,” said Topka, calling Richland’s service “exceptional.”

Shade’s newest deal with Central City runs through October 2018, he said. But other details weren’t provided, and efforts to reach Topka and fellow Supervisors Willis Seraski and Henry Zubek for comment Monday night were unsuccessful.

Richland’s fire department serves the entire township and Geistown. Heffelfinger said vehicles and equipment based in Shade already have been returned to their Scalp Avenue location.

• Among other township business: Richland’s board approved a one-year, $47,112 contract with Pro Disposal for township curbside recycling – a move that keeps the same recycling hauler in the township another year.

The deal, approximately $2,000 less yearly than the current one, was approved after a three-year offer by Wright Sanitation was rejected because financial statements weren’t provided in its bid package, a township requirement, Solicitor Gary Costlow said.

David Hurst covers Richland Township for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at