St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee Talks NY Firefighter Denial - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

UPDATE: NY Firefighters Will March With SAV FD

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Update: 3/5: WSAV.com has learned that New York City firefighters, previously scheduled to march in the parade WILL march with members of the Savannah Fire Department. We are awaiting a full statement from parade leaders on this issue soon.

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An update to a story we first told you about on News 3 at 5 P.M. This year, some regular marchers will not be allowed to participate in Savannah's Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

This story is generating a lot of buzz and questions from you-- our viewers.

When we think of our favorite parade participants, there are very few that come before the New York Firefighters.

Every year, about 50 of them come down to march in a local Savannah based group-- this time it's called "Our Nation's Firefighters."

But today, they got the bad news that the application had been denied because of alcohol use within the parade route. I spoke with the parade committee who set the record straight.

It's no surprise-- the men and women in uniform are always a fan favorite inside Savannah's annual Saint Patrick's day Parade. But this year, the group "Our Nation's Firefighters" will have to watch from the sidelines.

"Our Nation's Firefighters did apply. They were denied entry into the parade based on previous problems we've had with them in the parade," says parade Chairman Brendan Sheehan.

The application was filed by Savannah resident Jim Grismer, but many of the marchers are firefighters for the New York Fire Department.

The previous problem Sheehan mentioned is heavy alcohol consumption inside the parade route, and he says this isn't the first time it's been an issue.

"In previous years, they had been denied for the same issues. We have gone over several times with Mr. Grismer about the issues around alcohol that they've had in the parade. He says that he has talked to our agent in the past and he has tried to control them, but he's got guys from all over the country, he doesn't know their personalities. He says he is doing the best he can."

Denying the application wasn't an easy decision, says Sheehan.

"We went in depth with this and had a major discussion about it. More so than any other unit we have in the parade, concerning the issues we've had in the past."

But in the end, it all comes down to safety and the strict no alcohol policy.

"We felt the agent staff and the people we have, we can handle the parade. We cannot pull extra people in or extra people in from the parade just to police this one unit."

There are more than 300 groups marching in this year's parade-- however, Sheehan says the New York Fire Department never applied.

But for the New York Firefighters who have already booked a plane ticket hoping to march this year...

"Come on and have a good time," says Sheehan.

I'm told that the application submitted by "Our Nation's Firefighters" was received February 10th and took about 2 weeks to process. The parade committee tells News 3, they have been in touch with the New York Fire Department-- but because the parade is at capacity, there may not be a way to get them in this year.

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