x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Rescue Calls To Glen Onoko Overwhelming Volunteer Fire Department

JIM THORPE — Since the start of the summer season, there have been several rescue calls at Glen Onoko Falls, including one death. Volunteers with the Jim ...
promo292823262

JIM THORPE -- Since the start of the summer season, there have been several rescue calls at Glen Onoko Falls, including one death.

Volunteers with the Jim Thorpe Fire Department say those calls are tying up much of their job time and its overwhelming their limited manpower.

Now Jim Thorpe Council is asking the state to help with this burden.

Volunteer firefighters from Jim Thorpe and the surrounding communities were called to the Glen Onoko Falls in May after two teenagers from the Lehigh Valley fell fifty feet off a trail, trying to grab a dropped water bottle. One of those teens died.

Jim Thorpe Deputy Fire Chief Vince Yaich says when there's a fatality in Glen Onoko, which is state game lands, they have to wait for state police and the game commission to show up.

“We're not allowed to move the victim, we have to wait, state police game commission will come up,” said Yaich. “So then when their investigation's done then we can package and transport the victim down.”

The fire department spent several more hours in Glen Onoko last month when two women and four children got lost on the trails.

“These are all issues that I have,” said Jim Thorpe council member Jay Miller. “Yes, the fire department does a lot of things other than fires but with volunteerism down, it's getting tougher and tougher.”

Miller has been a volunteer fire fighter with Jim Thorpe for 44 years.

He says those rescue calls in Glen Onoko are overwhelming the department's limited manpower.

“We don't have the resources to take of this every weekend or every other weekend, we`re volunteer and volunteerism is down,” said Miller.

Council sent a letter to Senator John Yudichak, asking if the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources could take over Glen Onoko and make it a state park, which would free up grant money.

That money could be used to make those trails safer.

“Go up, dress the trails up,” said Yaich.  “Color code the trails, people all get on the trails and they're telling what trail they're on when the last rescue we had they weren`t.”

“Repurpose the trails, they have to clean up the trails, they have to make them safe, they have to code them, at the very least they have to code somehow, color code them,” said Miller.