A volunteer fire company was shut down pending an investigation after getting caught making racist comments and insulting a young Black girl killed by police.
Briarcliffe Fire Company Station 75 in Glenolden, Pennsylvania is suspended after a call on January 27th. The call was between three local fire companies to discuss service consolidations.
After the call, the officials running the discussion left, and the Briarcliffe firefighters kept talking on the recorded call on Zoom.
Their insults included using racist slurs against fellow colleagues as well as making fun of the name of a young girl.
RACIST REMARKS: Fire company shut down after racist remarks caught on video callwww.youtube.com
The Briarcliffe firefighters first got in trouble because of how they were talking about their fellow firefighters at the Darby Township Fire Company. The firefighters there are all Black.
One of the Briarcliffe men on the call can be heard talking about Darby, saying:
“A bunch of f***ing [n-words] down there.”
They also expressed disgust at the increase in Black people in the area.
“Black on white, that’s the f***ing problem. Blacks are taking over sh**.”
Among many other horrible and racist comments, the firefighters on the call made fun of Fanta Bility, an 8-year-old Black girl who was shot to death by three police officers outside a football game last year.
The firefighter on the call said while laughing:
“Fanta soda, yeah, orange or Fanta grape!”
When someone else pointed out the girl was killed, the man kept laughing.
The racist comments by the Briarcliffe Fire Station 75 were heard by firefighters from the Goodwill Fire Company.
Goodwill Deputy Chief Tim Eichelman told local news WPVI:
“Those things they said were very discriminatory in nature, and that’s not what we stand for.”
Fanta Bility’s family also put out a statement saying they were “appalled” by the firefighters’ comments and laughter about their deceased daughter.
State Senator Anthony Williams and County Councilmember Richard Womack each put out their own statements about the horrible nature of the comments from these firefighters.
Briarcliffe Station 75 is not taking these accusations lying down, however. They are upset the city suspended the station and are working to perform their own internal investigation.
They put out a statement claiming that there's the possibility that the recording could be considered an unauthorized recording without the members' knowledge, which is illegal in Pennsylvania.
Either way, fire company officials claimed that those taking part in the conversation may be subject to internal discipline and possibly be expelled from service.
Many more online discussed the issue.
The Briarcliffe Fire Company Station 75 will remain closed for up to 30 days while the county conducts and investigation. Other fire stations in the area have a shared services agreement, and will be able to handle emergencies in the meantime.