Department removes accused firefighters from leadership positions

Members of the Strasburg Fire Department have voted to kick two people out of leadership positions as the department grapples with a sexual misconduct scandal.

During a members-only meeting on Thursday, the department members voted to remove Chris Pangle from his position as operations captain and Dale King from his position as fire chief.

Glenn Mason, the president of the Fire Department, said that two of the six members who were charged are still active members of the department. Mason added that those two members are on administrative leave but would not provide their names.

“I almost guarantee you that if we have this conversation in another 30 days, none of them will be active members,” Mason said.

The removal of Pangle and King from leadership positions comes as the department responds to allegations against six current or former members of the department, many of whom have occupied leadership positions.

Police charged King, Bradly Markin, Fabian Sosa, Andrew Key and Nathan Hirschberg with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after an affidavit accused them of having sex with a 17-year-old girl. Police also charged Pangle with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, although he was not named in the affidavit.

Of the six current or former members who were charged in December, at least four had occupied leadership positions, according to records obtained by the Northern Virginia Daily. In addition to King and Pangle, Hirschberg was the department’s training captain in 2017, while Key was one of two department lieutenants.

Hirschberg declined to comment, forwarding all questions to his lawyer, Brandon Keller. Keller has not responded to a request for comment. Key, King and Pangle have not responded to requests for comment.

The vote to remove Pangle and King from their leadership positions came the same night that Strasburg Mayor Rich Orndorff and Town Manager Wyatt Pearson demanded that the department allow the town to name an interim fire chief and form a committee that could significantly change the department.

The members voted to agree to the town’s demands. In a vote on Monday, the town made Shenandoah County Fire Chief Tim Williams interim fire chief.

Mason declined to state why the department decided to vote on the removals during the March meeting.