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American flag flies again at Towamensing fire company

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    Workers from Crown Castle dangle in a cage from a crane Thursday morning as they remove the tattered flag that had been wrapped around a pole outside the Towamensing Township Fire Company. The flag, which had been wrapped around its pole, has been corrected and can once again be seen flying tall and proud outside the fire company building. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

Published January 23. 2020 03:13PM


An American flag once again flies tall and proud outside the Towamensing Township Fire Company.

Workers from Crown Castle brought a crane out Thursday morning to fix the tattered flag after it got wrapped around its pole.

Township Supervisor John Kleintop said that before the situation was rectified, it most definitely ruffled the feathers of many a proud veteran.

“This is not the first time that there’s been a flag issue here in the township,” Kleintop said. “The thing that sometimes resonates out there is that everybody thinks that it’s a township issue; it’s truly not.”

Kleintop said that Crown Castle owns the cell tower on which the flag is hung.

“The property where the flag is located is owned by the Trachsville Fire Company, and that cell tower when it was designed and proposed they worked into the contract a flag that was going to be erected on this tower, and it would resonate in the community and the veterans for all Americans to enjoy,” he said. “The problem is that a flag only has so much of a shelf life, and through the weather and the elements, it takes its toll and they don’t last forever.”

Kleintop explained that the cell tower is owned by Crown Castle.

“They rent space on that tower, they’re the ones responsible to maintain the flag,” he said. “There’s a compound that’s fenced off around that tower so no one can get to that tower, so even if we wish to take the tattered flag down until it could be replaced, there’s no way that we can, it’s a locked facility.”

Kleintop said whenever the township starts to see that the flag is in bad shape, it’s always instructed the Trachsville Fire Company to start making phone calls to Crown Castle.

“Sometimes they respond, and sometimes they don’t respond,” he said. “In mid-December is when they started making the phone calls; but were not getting any response and at the end of December, that’s when the township started getting involved to try to help out and get Crown Castle to take responsibility.”

Kleintop said he understands why many people were upset, but that it wasn’t the result of a lack of trying on the fire company and the township’s behalf.

“A lot of the residents, that still doesn’t resonate very well with them because they’d like it to be fixed yesterday, and we don’t blame them at all,” he said. “We live with veterans who fought for this country and the respect the flag deserves.”

At present, Kleintop said the fire company does not have an active fire chief.

The township’s most recent fire chief, Ryan Bowman, resigned from the position in September via email after just a few months, according to the township office.

Bowman’s appointment followed the resignation of another former fire chief, Ryan Snyder, in May.

Kleintop noted that the fire department is currently looking for as many members as it can get.

“It is struggling membership wise; it’s an uphill battle,” he said. “The fire company has a lot of equipment, has a few members along with a few active members, but it’s struggling to get leadership out there to help it move forward.”

Kleintop added, “A lot of individuals, their work in the local area isn’t as prominent as it once was.

A lot of people travel out of the area, and by the time people get back, they don’t have the time that they once did. There’s a lot of training that has to go in for a member that wants to be part of the firefighting part of things so that they’re knowledgeable about the different kind of situations that come up, whether it’s an accident, fire or Hazmat situation.”


The high winds at the top of this hill, plus the fact that the flag is installed on a cell tower and not a flagpole designed to prevent this type of wrapping problem, cause the numerous tear problems with the flag. The annual replacement costs I'm sure are considerable. If not already done so, the tower owner should be in contact with the flag supplier to see if there are alternatives to the manner in which the flag is flown. Bringing in a crane to remove and reinstall the flag doesn't seem very cost effective.

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