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Firefighter ousted from company

August 08, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A 21-year-old volunteer firefighter has been expelled from Chambersburg's Friendship Fire Co. after police in southern Franklin County charged him with inappropriately using the blue lights on his sport utility vehicle.

The decision to oust Gregory Thomas Warne, address not available, came during a regularly scheduled company meeting Tuesday, president Adam McNew said.

"His membership has been terminated because actions such as this are not tolerated by our company whether it directly affects our company or not," McNew said in a statement after the 7 p.m. meeting.

Washington Township police charged Warne with disorderly conduct and a violation of the vehicle code in connection with an incident July 20. They cited the section of the vehicle code that concerns visual signals on authorized vehicles.

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Sandra Martinez of Waynesboro, Pa., pulled over on Pa. 16 west of Zullinger, Pa., when Warne allegedly activated his blue lights while approaching her vehicle from behind, police said.

He allegedly slowed down while passing her and laughed, police said.

McNew said Warne did not have blue lights in connection with the Friendship Fire Co., but rather because he was a member of the Franklin County Air Unit.

"We do not authorize blue lights," McNew said.

Franklin County Air Unit Chief Wayne Tanner said he placed Warne on a 30-day suspension effective July 26, when he heard about the incident.

Representatives of the Friendship Fire Co. and Franklin County Air Unit said Warne had been a volunteer with both, but McNew described Warne as an "inactive volunteer."

The Friendship Fire Co. has fewer than 30 active volunteers, McNew said.

The Franklin County Air Unit provides breathing air to county firefighters at the scenes of emergencies.

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