As one of nature’s elements, fire will never burn out. But the ones who volunteer to fight it might.
It’s a problem that in recent decades has only grown. In Penn Hills, the number of volunteer firefighters has dwindled for years. The municipality closed one of its seven fire stations because of the problem in 2016.
It has prompted officials to take a deep dive into its fire services to see where costs can be trimmed and revenue created. When published, the study – funded by the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development – will make recommendations on funding options such as a fire tax, equipment and manpower needs. Penn Hills Fire Marshal Chuck Miller said the municipality awaits the results of the study.
Penn Hills fire chiefs have floated the idea of a tax break for its 100 active firefighters. The idea, if implemented, would mean volunteer firefighters could qualify for a $950 local income tax credit.