Township Manager Matthew Cavallo sent out an email this afternoon saying that the use of Verona Fire Station No. 2 has been temporarily suspended and many members are quarantining after an unauthorized holiday gathering at the firehouse that exposed those in attendance and potentially others to COVID-19. “The holiday gathering was not authorized by the Township and actions have been taken to ensure similar incidents will not happen in the future,” Cavallo’s email said.
Verona has two firehouses and all Fire Department members are volunteers. Station No. 2 is the one across from Everett Field on the east side of town. The Fire Department uses trucks from both firehouses to transport Santa Claus around town on a weekend ahead of Christmas. On Friday, the VFD postponed firetruck Santa day from today to next Sunday, December 20.
According to statistics from Essex County, Verona’s number of positive COVID-19 cases rose by seven to 377 today. Verona had 302 cases on December 1.
Cavallo said that Verona would be covered against fires despite the suspension of Fire Station No. 2. “The Township continues to maintain excellent fire protection for Verona through Fire Station No. 1 and from the establishment of formal mutual aid from neighboring towns,” Cavallo said. “Such arrangements are standard practice when available responding personnel may be limited. The Verona Fire Department is working in conjunction with the Verona Office of Emergency Management, the Township Manager’s Office, and the Montclair Health Department on implementing a plan to return to full service. This will include measures to avoid future exposure incidents. Our utmost concern is always the safety of our residents and the members of this department. With these deliberate steps, residents and businesses will remain safe and protected.”