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Fire Company Suspended After Audio Surfaces of Members Making Racist Remarks and Mocking an 8-Yr-Old Black Girl Killed By Police

A volunteer fire company in Glenolden, Pennsylvania has been shut down after several firefighters were heard making racist comments about Black people in a virtual meeting.  

Last week, the Darby Township Board of Commissioners voted to temporarily suspend the Briarcliffe Fire Company Station for 30 days after members of the station were heard on a ZOOM call making racial remarks and mocking the name of Fanta Bility, an 8-year-old girl shot and killed by police in 2021. 

According to a letter from a Goodwill Fire Company board member, the remarks were made after a virtual meeting between the Goodwill, Darby and Briarcliffe firehouses ended. 

The firefighters who made the comments didn’t know other firefighters from the Goodwill Fire Company, including Deputy Chief Tim Eichelman, were still on the line.  

The firehouse was shut down within hours of county officials hearing the recording. Eichelman said he and his fellow firefighters knew he had to bring the comments to light.

“We believe at Goodwill Fire Company that we should support everybody,” he said.

On the recording, firefighters can be heard making racial remarks about Black firefighters.

“A bunch of f—ing n— down there,” one man can be heard saying while discussing the all-Black Darby Township Fire Company.

They also talked about there being too many Black people in the area.

“That’s the f—ing problem,” one person said. “Blacks are taking over s—.”

They even joked and mocked the name of Fanta Bility, an 8-year-old girl who was shot and killed by police while leaving a high school football game last summer. 

“Fanta soda, yeah, orange or Fanta grape,” one man said on the call while chuckling, even after being told that the girl was shot to death by police.

The family of Fanta Bility released this statement on the comments saying, “To speak of her with such disrespect, shines the light of shame on those people at the firehouse making the remarks, and reflects negatively on those good and true first responders who pledge their lives to the service of all members of the community.”

“We know that this is not right to the residents, and we want to make sure that the residents are treated fairly. And to have these kinds of actions taken and these kinds of remarks made, it’s just unacceptable,” Delaware County Councilman Richard Womack remarked at a press conference.

He added, “We will continue to do what we have to do to make sure this does not happen again in Darby Township or in any other township or borough because no one should have to be subject to that.”

Ashley Dolceamore, co-founder of Delco Resists, a community organization posted the 94 minute recording on social media said, “Unfortunately, this isn’t my first time hearing about racism within the fire departments in Delaware County. This is the first time though they were caught red-handed in an audio recording.”

An investigation will determine whether the temporary silence at the Briarcliffe Fire company becomes permanent. The township would do so by refusing to work with the company altogether.

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