Fire department stiffed on sign

Nina Pineda has the 7 On Your Side story from West Milford
Seven On Your Side
December 11, 2013 3:20:09 PM PST
Firefighters are used to helping those in need, but this time, it's a department in New Jersey that needed a little help.

A contractor stiffed them after they paid thousands for a new sign designed to inform the public of emergencies.

Firefighter Scott Lauber's used to saving lives, but it was this burly volunteer who needed help.

"It's a constant struggle. Having something like that, it brings the guy down," said Scott Lauber, a West Milford Firefighter.

Scott's talking about a sign that was blown down by Superstorm Sandy, but only half finished by the sign contractor.

"It turns your stomach every time you pull in from a call," Lauber said.

Last March, his company of volunteers scraped together $11,000 for a new LED sign to notify the public of emergencies.

But that's not what they got.

"You just think this looks dated and old," said Nina Pineda, 7 On Your Side.

"Yeah, dated and old. The other side of the side the wind blows them out," Lauber said.

Low-tech, despite the high price, $6,000 alone paid for the LED.

"We have a very small budget from the town and we survive on what we raise, and for us to reproduce $6,000 again will sink us," Lauber said.

But almost a year after ordering the new sign from a local company, Leprechaun Lighting and Electrical Sign, they're out of luck. They are still stuck sticking letters up manually and can't get anywhere with the company's owner, Brian Finnagan.

"It was always excuses or I'll call you back and never calls back," Lauber said.

Every time he calls, they've gotten nowhere.

"This had been nonstop over and over we want to find out what's going on with the sign! We're trying to figure out what the deal is," Lauber said.

So 7 On Your Side went looking for answers.

The contractor first told 7 On Your Side to get off his property, but then started talking, blaming a supplier for the problem, but wouldn't name the company.

"They went out of business and took my money and left," Finnagan said.

He says he paid for the sign himself, and a month after 7 On Your Side called, it finally got installed.

"Never could of done it without you guys, the help was phenomenal," Lauber said, "On behalf of the West Milford Fire Department we want to show our appreciation."

The firefighters' new LED sign lit up with a special message saying, "Thank you 7 On Your Side, thank you Nina, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!"