2009-02-12 / Local & State

Pa. Fire Departments Seek Smoking Ban Exemption

APOLLO, Pa. (AP) - Some volunteer fire departments say Pennsylvania's smoking ban is hurting their bingo fundraisers and they want an exemption.

Bill Walker of Apollo's department, says about 80 people had attended bingo the week before the ban took effect. Attendance last week was 13 and seven the week before.

A half-dozen department officials met Sunday in Apollo to discuss the issue. State House Democrat Joseph Petrarca says departments should be exempted. But he says amending the law would be difficult.

Fire departments are considered private clubs that can allow smoking at member events, but not at bingo games, which are considered public gatherings.

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