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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Borough

Witness Tells Lower Bucks Source What they Saw on the Night A Bristol Borough Firefighter was Struck & Killed

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Santiago

An after incident witness to the hit-and-run killing of a Bristol Borough Firemen has come forward in recent days with a troubling story to tell they  shared with Lower Bucks Source.

Daniel Santiago, 53 a firefighter for the Goodwill Hose Company #3 in Bristol was struck and killed in the early hours of June 29 in the area of the 5500 block of Bristol Pike (AKA Route 13).  The case has remained an open since then despite the dogged efforts of local and county investigators.

All leads were exhausted Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said in the Fall of 2021 at a press conference to highlight the unsolved murder.

Credit: Submitted
Firefighter Daniel Santiago

Until now…

The witness approached Lower Bucks Source about one week ago and shared the following about the events on the night of June 29.

“He was going into Wawa, and I was coming out. We talked for a couple of minutes and then I went on my way,” the source said.

The witness went on…

So I’m walking down 13 southbound side, and all of a sudden something hits me in the back of the leg. I turn around and its a bike, and its mangled. Some feet ahead of me, near the entrance to the Villager Motel, I see a body laying there, and look up and see a vehicle making a right hand turn by the Dunkin Donuts. By this time a woman in a passing vehicle stopped and I think she called 911 to get help because I never saw her again.

The witness provided specific details about the described striking vehicle this publication will not release as it could hamper the police investigation.

The witness continued….

Moments later Bristol Township Police and First Responders arrived on scene.

“They started to mark off the area as I was standing there and one of the responding cops said “get the hell out here .”

I wanted to help …but I’m thinking he know’s I’m homeless and decided I had no help to offer police.”

As to why the source has kept this to themselves for so long, their response was “they didn’t want to talk to me then, why would they now?”

The source said he went back to the hotel where they were staying with a friend and watched investigators work the crime scene with a friend.

“Understand I wanted to help. I knew Danny, but once I was yelled at for being at the scene, I just moved on hoping they would catch the suspect some other way.

The source also said they did read the news accounts about the press conference held in Bristol Township by Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub in October of 2021.  The hope of the presser was to offer a reward and reach out to the community seeking possible witnesses or anyone who might know something about vehicle involved killing of Santiago.

The Santiago family took part in the October 2021 press conference also. His brother Nick said he missed his “big brother” terribly.

“He was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt of his back”

Locals did all they could at the time to raise awareness and hope witnesses would come forward with helpful information. A hot dog fundraiser was held, raising over $2000.00 and attended by local, county and state officials.

Daniel Santiago
Credit: Submitted

Bucks County Crime Stoppers, through donations from State Rep’s. John Galloway state Rep. Tina Davis and the law firm of Stark & Stark, are added to the a reward of $1,000 to the $3000.00  collected by Santiago’s family.

Life long friend Ismael “Hermie” Rivera of Bristol said at the time,”we need to help his family get some justice and closure.“Hopefully this fundraiser is a step in that direction.”

Bristol Township Police said they couldn’t comment on the information Lower Bucks Source had come across.

“I would like to speak with anyone that witnessed the crash,” said lead investigator Bristol Township Detective Patrick Kitchenmam “the investigation is active and ongoing still.”

Lower Bucks Source contacted a member of Santiago’s family on Friday about the new information and they declined to comment at that time.

The approximate area where Daniel Santiago was struck on June, 29. 2021 according to Police Credit: Jeff Bohen, Lower Bucks Source

Anyone with information on any of these cases, should contact Bucks County Detectives or Bristol Township Police Detectives. Bucks County Detectives can be reached through our CrimeWatch site, which is BUCKSDA.ORG or by phone at 215-348-6354. Bristol Township Police Detectives can be reached at 215-785-4707.

You can also submit confidential tips to authorities here

 

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Twp Council To Vote On Volunteer Fire Company Consolidation Monday Night

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Just under two years ago at a Bristol Borough Council meeting, officials were getting an update on the then planned fire company consolidation effort by Steve Reeves,  president of the Bristol Borough Fire Association. At the time, talk of consolidating fire companies in the borough and Bristol Township was a hot topic.

During his presentation Reeves mentioned consolidation talks of the Bensalem fire company volunteer services were also in progress. At the time tidbit was not in the public domain.

Credit: Submitted

Now after two years of planning, the Bensalem Township Council will vote on a resolution to form The Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department at its next meeting Monday night.

If the resolution is passed, the six legacy fire companies, including Cornwells, Eddington, Newport, Nottingham, Trevose, and Union, will be consolidated into one volunteer fire department. This consolidation plan is necessary to ensure adequate fire/emergency response within the township because of reduced membership amongst the current companies, a press release announced late Friday afternoon.

Credit: Submitted

Reeves knew what he was talking about at the time. Lower Bucks Source in the following days reached out to area first responder sources, officials and Bensalem area volunteer firefighters. No one anywhere would go on or off the record. LBS was directed, by Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Robert Sponheimer, to the Deputy Director of Public Safety Robert Race who politely declined to respond to a request for comment at the time.

Credit: Submitted

Late last year, according to a Lower Bucks Times report, Bensalem officials spoke rather openly about dwindling volunteer numbers.  This led William McVey, director of public safety, to ask for council approval to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant through FEMA, which was subsequently approved in November by council.

This past February the township announced the hiring of Mark Antozzeski as the first career Fire Chief in Bensalem history. He is leading the volunteer fire services, as well as Bensalem Fire Rescue, career staff. McVey told Bensalem Patch.com the hiring was an important piece of the consolidation process.

 

Credit: Submitted

Earlier this month,  Nottingham Fire Department Chief Ron Harris was named the Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief as part of the consolidation effort, according to published report. 

Credit: Submitted

Beginning Friday evening, shortly after receiving the Bensalem announcement on the expected consolidation vote, first responder sources Lower Bucks Source contacted said that back in 2022 when first contacted they declined to comment because the topic was sensitive in nature and a real possibility of backlash existed and concerns about “sabotaging” the process were also omnipresent. Those sources again declined to comment on the record.

Consolidation Efforts in Bristol Borough & Bristol Township

In February, Bristol Borough voted to consolidate their volunteer fire services. Prior to that step the borough approved applying for a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant in the amount of $1.5 to build a new fire house at a yet to be determined location.

As far back as February of 2022, a smaller plan in size and scope was being discussed in Bristol Township involving Newportville Fire Company #1, Third District Fire Company with career fire personnel from the township which came off the heels of  a fire study completed in 2020.  That plan is no longer in play, fire officials say. Third District Fire Chief Howard McGoldrick said it’s a “complete mystery” why Newportville ultimately decided against the discussed move and merger.

” Volunteer fire services in Bucks County are changing right before our eyes” one first responder said last year.

Credit: Submitted

In each of the consolidation efforts, public safety, declining volunteer numbers and increasing costs have been cited repeatedly by officials publicly.

“It’s just not sustainable anymore financially for fire companies, the municipalities they serve, and taxpayers. It’s consolidate or die”, a high ranking first responder source said Friday.

Bensalem Council is expected to pass the resolution with its vote tonight.

Editor’s Note:  Each of the images in this story come from the volunteer fire companies serving Bensalem Township.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Thunderstorm Rips Through Lower Bucks Area Friday Evening

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A Friday evening thunderstorm ripped through the Lower Bucks County area causing power outages, trees to come down, and other related damage.

The storm swept the area beginning around 6 p.m. just as the evening rush hour for motorists was ending.

Scattered wind gusts were expected, with up-to 1/4 inch sized hail and intermitted lightening were called for by forecasters before the storm landed.

Credit: Submitted

In the Winder Village section of Bristol Township, public safety officials say a tree landed on a vehicle while the motorist was operating the vehicle. The driver was able to get out of the vehicle under his own power with no injuries, Third District Fire Company officials said.

Credit: Submitted

 

In the Bensalem -Bristol areas, dozens are still without power, as of 7 a.m. Saturday morning, Information, according to PECO, is still pending assessment in the Croydon  and West Bristol sections of Bristol Twp.

Credit: PECO

No information on any injuries sustained as a result of the storm at this time.

Approximately 400 customers remain without power, PECO officials say in the Lower Bucks County area as of publication time.

Credit: Joe Nelson

 

 

 

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Breaking News - Bensalem Township

“Armed Man” Initiates Lockdown for Levittown Elementary School Thursday, No Charges Filed

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Brookwood Elementary

**Update: Friday 4 a.m.**

Earlier Thursday, Brookwood Elementary in Bristol Township instituted their “Lockdown Procedures” due to an alleged report of a “armed man” in the area of the school.

Parents received a community update notice which said they were in lockdown due to a security concern in a nearby neighborhood.  The notice said updates would be provided as they occur and to please not come to or contact the school.

Police dispatched to the elementary school raced up Haines Road one witness told the publication taking one man into custody, authorities  said.

“There was an incident involving an adult male, who was in possession of a firearm near the school crossing guard post (Kenwood Drive North & Key Lane.) There is no information at this time that he attempted to enter the school. The matter is under investigation. No one has been arrested as of this time,” said Lt. Sean Cosgrove in an e-email exchange with Lower Bucks Source, shortly after the incident.

At 1:30 p.m., the lockdown was lifted without further incident.

 

 

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