Residents from nearby communities can become volunteer firefighters in Leonia under an ordinance passed this month by the borough council, Leonia Life reported Friday.
The fire company will accept recruits from Teaneck, Fort Lee, Englewood, Ridgefield Park, Ridgefield and Bogota, the newspaper reported. Some residents at a Sept. 16 council meeting voiced concerns the change was a move toward using a paid fire service in the borough.
The expanded recruitment was among other policy changes made to the 115-year-old fire company, the report said.
Leonia temporarily suspended its entire fire department in June after 18-year-old borough resident Darius Levine was charged with sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy at the fire station. Teaneck and Fort Lee firefighters handled Leonia’s emergency calls during the departmental shut down.
Borough firefighters were restricted from using the firehouse for anything but emergency response after the station was reopened. The fire company later sued Leonia over the restrictions.
In another potential suit, Fort Lee attorney Rosemary Arnold filed a notice of intent to sue the borough and fire department on behalf of the 3-year-old’s family. The notice accused the borough of being “unreasonable in the operation and/or supervision of the town, the firemen and/or the subject premises,” according to a Record report.