Public Safety

If you graduate from the Citizens Fire Academy, you just might want to become a volunteer firefighter. If not, you’ll know a lot more about how your tax dollars are spent and why our fire department is internationally accredited. Classes begin Wednesday, September 12. Photo: Ken Lager

FIRE DEPARTMENT FUN Learn about firefighting plus everything else firefighters do. Mt. Lebanon, Castle Shannon and Dormont fire departments will present the 2018 Citizens Fire Academy, beginning on Wednesday, September 12. Classes will meet primarily on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 10  with Saturday sessions on October 13 and November 3 and a graduation ceremony on Wednesday, November 14.

Tour the station, don firefighting gear, learn about vehicle extrication, technical rescue, hazardous materials, engine and truck company operations, fire prevention and emergency management. Pick up an application at the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Center, 555 Washington Road, or learn more and download an application at


Four Mt. Lebanon firefighters were honored at Pittsburgh’s Amen Corner’s eighth annual Fire-fighter/EMS awards reception for their lifesaving efforts in three dwelling fires. From left, Ezra Braun, Kris Siegert, Glenn Wallace and Joe Thuransky. Photo: Ken Lager

GOOD WORK Firefighters Ezra Braun, Kris Siegert, Joe Thuransky and Glenn Wallace (retired), received an award from Amen Corner and Pittsburgh Metro FOOLs at the eighth annual Firefighter/EMS awards. The four members of the department received recognition for their efforts in rescuing  civilians at three separate Mt. Lebanon dwelling fires.

The Amen Corner is a 147-year-old Pittsburgh social welfare agency that provides positive role models and networking opportunities for its members. It also honors people who make Pittsburgh a better place to live. Pittsburgh FOOLs (Fratenal Order of Leatherheads Society) is a nonprofit service agency that provides training and supports to firefighters and their families. CAPTION: Four Mt. Lebanon firefighters were honored at Pittsburgh’s Amen Corner’s eighth annual Fire-fighter/EMS awards reception for their lifesaving efforts in three dwelling fires.  From left, Ezra Braun, Kris Siegert, Glenn Wallace and Joe Thuransky.


OPEN HOUSE The firehouse is open! Save the date: October 6. Time to be announced. The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department will celebrate its 100th anniversary with you at the Public Safety Center, 555 Washington Road. You’ll get to see antique fire equipment and other displays from throughout the department’s history. A highlight will be the traditional Push-In ceremony for the department’s new pumper. The truck, which cost $575,000, replaces the former engine Number 3 (which brought in a tidy $50,000 in resale).

The new truck, manufactured by Rosenbauer America, the largest firetruck manufacturer in the world, will become the workhorse of the department and will be used for everything from fires to vehicle crashes to medical service calls. It will be the main truck in use for the next five years, then will become part of a rotating group of trucks to serve the department for a total of 15 years.


NEW JOBS They tried it. They liked it. And now they’re here for good. Two volunteer firefighters recently were hired in June as career lieutenants with the department. Robert Jankowski, Sleepy Hollow Road, has been a volunteer for six years and worked for the Allegheny County Airport Authority fire department. Joe Gavita, Castle Shannon Boulevard, has been a volunteer for five years, and was previously a volunteer assistant fire chief in Crescent Township and a part-time firefighter in Peters.


Officer Bryan Henley

NEW SRO Mt. Lebanon police officer Bryan Henley is Mt. Lebanon High School’s new school resource officer (SRO)  and will be on duty every day when school is in session. The cost of the officer’s salary and benefits will be split by the municipality (35 percent) and the school district (65 percent) based on the actual allocation of work, as the SRO does not work in the school when the building is closed, during breaks or in the summer. The total cost will be determined when
police officers’ compensation is set for the coming year.

Officer Henley is a graduate of Mercyhurst College with a degree in law enforcement and juvenile justice.  Prior to becoming a police officer, he worked as a counselor at Pressley Ridge School, which serves children and families with challenges and problems, and as a substitute school teacer in Penn Hills.  Then, after a  four-year stint in the Air Force, he graduated from the Allegheny County Police Academy and has worked for MLPD for 15 years.

Police Chief Aaron Lauth identified  Henley early on in discussions with the school district as a good candidate for the SRO position and thus has provided him with recent training from the National Association of School Research Officers.  Henley is excited to assume his new position, Lauth says.

Henley’s reassignment will require hiring a new police officer to take over patrol and other duties.


MRTSA HONORED The American Heart Association has given Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA) its EMS Gold Plus Award. The award goes to emergency providers with excellent percentages of diagnosing and treating heart attack patients.

MRTSA utilizes cutting-edge technology to initiate treatment of heart attack patients  during transport to the hospital for stents, clot-busting medication and other procedures.

Gold Plus recognition also requires that medical rescue agencies maintain high performance standards and have good records for resuscitating patients who experience out-of-hospital cardiac

In 1978, Mt. Lebanon Fire Department purchased its first rescue squad vehicle, a specialty unit equipped with high power electric generators, winch systems and hydraulic rescue tools.

Mt. Lebanon Fire Department celebrates its centennial next month. In tribute, in each issue of 2018, we’re offering a glimpse of local firefighting through the decades, featuring pictures and information from the municipal archives.

The MLFD in the 1970s

July 1970 Mt. Lebanon awarded a contract to American LaFrance for $77,313 ($499,539 in 2018 dollars), minus $10,000 for trade-in, for a new ladder truck, replacing a 1951 model.

April 1972 Chief Ray Goettel announced his retirement. Assistant Chief Stephen C. Walther was promoted to fire chief effective July 1, 1972.

1974 Mt. Lebanon awarded a $53,000 contract ($270,352 in 2018 dollars) to Seagrave for a new 1,250 gallon-per-minute pumper, replacing a 1955 American LaFrance model.

1976 The fire department added two career positions. These full-time firefighters were hired to work daylight, assisting with safety inspections. Chief Walther helped write a fire and building code for the municipality.

1978 The department bought its first rescue squad vehicle. It was a 1978 Ford F-150 and looked like the truck used on the TV show Emergency! that ran on NBC from 1972-1978.  The department also bought a 1978 Ford E-150 window van to be used as the chief’s vehicle. It had a command center with radios and scanners built into the rear of the van and a microfiche reader to view building pre-plans at a fire scene. This was very progressive thinking for 1978 and foreshadowed the computers the department has in all the apparatus today.