Emilio Hall is no longer a member of Pennsylvania's Steelton Fire Department. Steelton Mayor Tom Acri confirmed Hall was voted out of the department in a letter to the Press and Journal. Debra Schell is the reporter who interviewed Hall last June when he made the claim that he was a former FDNY firefighter who was trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Schell revisited that story on December 28 after being contacted in November by a former girlfriend of Hall's who said his claim is bogus. Schell confirmed with FDNY that no one by the name of Emilio Hall had been a member of the department. Hall stood by his story for the December 28 article, but according to Schell's latest report, Hall can't currently be reached because he is in Dauphin County Prison on a criminal contempt charge (no details provided in the report).
Mayor Acri and Steelton Fire Chief Eugene Vance received a lot of criticism within the fire service for comments made to reporter Schell for the December article. Chief Vance, who according to Schell retired as planned at the end of 2011, was quoted as saying, “It has no bearing on this department.” Mayor Acri described Hall at the time as dedicated to the company and said, “If he is a story-teller, there is nothing we can do about that."
Mayor Acri has portrayed things somewhat differently for the latest article:
Mayor Acri said he, the Steelton community, including the Steelton Volunteer Fire Department and former Fire Chief Eugene Vance, “were sincerely shocked and appalled by these accusations and hold Mr. Hall’s actions with great gravity and sadness.”
Acri was clarifying to comments he and Vance made in support of Hall in December. Those comments brought criticism from many in the firefighting community.
“We [Acri and Vance] were both certainly caught off guard by the accusations but do not find this matter trivial and have worked swiftly and decisively to address it,” Acri said.
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