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Daughter of Quakake chief speaks out

Jessica Harper, the daughter of Quakake Fire Company fire Chief Wesley Konsavage, is speaking out on the prospect of a merger with Hometown Fire Company.

Harper said that Quakake members assumed they had until Jan. 1 to decide what they were going to do. Rush Township Supervisors suggested the merger in September and have since taken the company out of commission to answer fire calls.

“The township called for another special meeting on Oct. 16 in which the (fire) chief of Quakake informed the township supervisors his work schedule would not allow him to attend; he provided them with his schedule at that time so they could come up with a date that worked for all of them,” Harper said. “The township went ahead with that meeting on Oct. 16, in which Quakake had two representatives at that meeting, but the chief was not able to attend.”

Harper said Quakake did not receive a letter from the township about the board’s decision at its Oct. 19 meeting to cut all funding to Quakake Fire Company and remove them from the 911 emergency system effective immediately, but instead, found out about it by reading it in the newspaper.

“So for Hometown to sit there and cry ‘victim’ is somewhat false. They could have played more of a liaison between the supervisors and Quakake in my opinion,” Harper said. “Also, as for no contact from Quakake at this point, I don’t blame them after how the events unfolded, but Hometown doesn’t want to make it seem like that to the community of Quakake.” Konsavage said Quakake Fire Company is in the process of getting a letter together for the media.

Barry Messerschmidt, fire chief and president of Hometown Fire Company, said Tuesday the intention was to keep Quakake’s fire equipment and fire station open under the Hometown Fire Company.

Messerschmidt said there’s no fire company in Quakake. The fire house is still there, he said, but it’s inactive because it’s been decertified.

If the fire companies would merge, the combined entities would receive $200,000 over 10 years, said treasurer George Gerhard, who wanted to clarify information that ran in Wednesday’s publication of the Times News.

Gerhard said in the event no merger occurs, Hometown state funding would still be maintained at a rate of a minimum of $10,000 a year.

Messerschmidt said Hometown Fire Company said regardless of the outcome, the residents of Rush Township will continue to receive fire protection.

A handful of active members from the Quakake Fire Company attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Hometown Fire Company has sent a letter of intent to the Quakake Fire Company asking them to make their decision.

Quakake has a week to respond, and if it agrees to merge, a meeting will likely take place between both fire departments within two weeks.

Nearby, members of the Brockton Fire Company and Mary D Volunteer Fire Company in Schuylkill Township are also considering combining operations.