Brick Township has filed a lawsuit against the remnants of the township’s combined volunteer EMS squad, arguing that a building the squad acquired for $1 in the 1970s should revert back to township ownership now that it is no longer active.
Brick’s several EMS squads formed a combined Brick Volunteer EMS in the latter part of the 2000s. Eventually, under circumstances that have been disputed by various parties (Shorebeat is preparing a story looking into the dissolution of the squad), it folded. The building, located on Aurora Drive, has remained under the ownership of the legal entity that remains of the squad. One of the conditions of the original transfer of the building to the squad was that it must be used for emergency services purposes.
Mayor John Ducey has said that, in recent months, the building has been rented out for events, prompting township officials to begin levying property taxes on the property since they argued it was now a commercial venture. Apparently, talks between the township and remaining squad members broke down recently, leading to the filing of the lawsuit this week.
Brick officials released a statement on the lawsuit Tuesday, adding that in Dec. 2014, the volunteer squad filed a Certificate of Dissolution with the State of New Jersey. Brick Police EMS, which utilizes paid EMTs to deliver emergency care, is now the primary basic life support provider in Brick.
“Despite our best efforts we were unable to bring the ailing squad to an acceptable level of service that our residents should expect,” said Police Chief James Riccio, in the statement. “It’s an unfortunate situation but it was a decision that was made in the interest of public safety.”
The volunteer squad, he said, lacked the certifications to administer certain medications such as narcan, aspirin, albuterol, and EpiPens.
The Aurora Place EMS building was sold by the township to the Breton Woods Fire company decades ago for $1 under the condition it was to be used for emergency services. It later was transferred to the local EMS squad and, ultimately, Brick Volunteer EMS.
If the township is successful in reacquiring the building, it will revert back to its use as an emergency services post. The building will serve as an EMS post for the south side of Brick, with another location on Lanes Mill Road serving the northern reaches of the township.
Ducey, in the statement, paid compliments to those who served as volunteer EMTs in Brick, despite the lawsuit.
“We first and foremost want to thank the many people who served on our volunteer EMS squads for their selfless service. For decades, these volunteers were the primary source of emergency response for our community,” said Ducey. “Their contributions can never be diminished and will never be forgotten. As with all areas of volunteerism, the time constraints on today’s families have made it harder to offer time, especially in an area that requires immediate response and a need for constant training on techniques, procedures, and interventions that are needed to save lives in critical moments.”