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LACEY PARK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY NO. 1 v. BOARD SUPERVISORS WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP (11/10/76)

decided: November 10, 1976.

LACEY PARK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY NO. 1, APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP, BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Lacey Park Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 v. Board of Supervisors of Warminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, No. 75-8109-08-5. Transferred from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Edward D. Foy, Jr., with him William E. Eimer, and Liederbach, Eimer, Foy & Hahn, for appellant.

Elliott M. Drexler, with him Connolly, McAndrews, Kihm & Stevens, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr. and Wilkinson, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 55]

On November 27, 1944, appellant fire company was duly registered as a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation for the purpose of fighting fires. Sometime in early August of 1975, the Warminster Fire Commission, as authorized by appellee, developed a plan, whereby appellant would be merged or consolidated with another fire company in the township. This plan was presented to appellee on August 25, 1975, however, appellee voted instead to suspend the operations of appellant as of August 29, 1975, and ordered all of appellant's vehicles to be turned over to another local fire company.

On August 29, 1975, appellant sought and was granted a preliminary injunction, enjoining appellee

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 56]

    from effecting a merger of appellant with another local fire company. Several days later, on September 8, 1975, a hearing was held on the injunction, at which time, the injunction was dissolved. On October 10, 1975, the lower court issued an adjudication and a Decree Nisi denying appellant's relief and ordering the transfer of appellant's assets. Appellant then filed exceptions to the findings of fact, conclusions of law and the Decree Nisi, which were dismissed by the court below en banc, hence this appeal.

This case presents two question on appeal.*fn1 The first is whether the appellee has exceeded its powers in withdrawing appellant's fire fighting territory. The second concerns whether or not appellee can order the transfer of assets, to which it does not hold title, out of the hands of appellant, a nonprofit corporation.

The basis of appellee's regulatory powers over volunteer fire companies and fire fighting in general stems from Section 702 of The Second Class Township Code.*fn2 The Code provides that:

"Out of the general township fund to purchase or contribute to the purchase of fire engines and fire apparatus, for the use ...


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