Firefighter union speaks out against Altoona councilman

Alleged text claims firefighters burned vacant buildings

An Altoona councilman is under fire just four days before he's up for re-election. 

Members of the Altoona Firefighter's union are speaking out after they say Altoona Councilman Dave Butterbaugh, in a text, claimed firefighters were allegedly setting fire to vacant buildings. 

Patrick Miller with Altoona Firefighters union claims that Butterbaugh sent that text in May and he learned about it from a source he won't name.

Fellow Altoona Firefighters stood behind Patrick Miller as he read an alleged text from Altoona Councilman Dave Butterbaugh.

"The older ones wanted the youngers ones laid off instead of going into Act 47. then they started allegedly burning vacant buildings," read Miller. 

He says Councilman Butterbaugh should reconsider running for re-election. 

"That he would think that we would place citizens live or members lives at risk to torch vacant buildings is utterly pathetic and repulsive we no longer find it acceptable for Councilman Butterbaugh to sit as a member of council after these accusations," said Miller. 

Councilman Butterbuagh had no comment on the alleged text.

He did say however, he was warned of a situation of a firefighter committing arson in 2012.

"I did not solicit the information I was given. I was approached by one of their own who was afraid that someone was going to get hurt or killed during this string of structure fires."

Butterbaugh says five years ago council discussed the fate of the Altoona Fire Department.

"At the time there was fear of the city of Altoona would go into a volunteer or hybrid fire department to cut costs while this was being discussed there was a rash of fires set in vacant structures throughout the city."

Miller says if this was the case, why did he not alert authorities or the department. 

"He never stated once to us during our meeting that it was a firefighter. He would not go into detail about who told him this," Miller said .

Butterbaugh believes that he's being attacked just in time for election day, recognizing a firefighter's family member is on the ballot for City Council as well. 

"Attacking me over this one week before the election reeks of political sabotage especially considering the spouse of an Altoona Firefighter is one of my opponents."

Miller said that had no weight in the decision to speak out. 

"As I just stated we endorsed no candidate what so ever in this race. Had I had this information the last election you would be standing here today and I would be reading the same statement."

Butterbaugh and Natalie Barlick-Reed, the wife of an Altoona Firefighter, will both be on the ballot for the upcoming election for City Council. 

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