Volunteer firefighters quit over pay in Timmonsville

Timmonsville, SC - TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - An alleged lack of payment to volunteer firefighters in Timmonsville is proving costly, following reports that upwards of eight volunteer firefighters walked off the job Tuesday evening.

Two volunteer firefighters with the Timmonsville Fire Department have confirmed as many as eight firefighters quit following a department meeting Tuesday evening. The group of firefighters are said to have called it quits over frustrations on how the department is operated and payments owed for working calls.

The firefighters, who wish to remain unidentified, say the recent walk-off leaves the department with eight firefighters, four of which are certified.

Chief Malcom Simon of the Timmonsville Fire Department was contacted for comment, but says that he can not comment on department personnel issues.

Tuesday's walk-off marks the second time since March volunteer firefighters have ended their commitments in dramatic fashion to the Pee Dee department. Two volunteer firefighters turned in their firefighting gear during a public comment segment of a Timmonsville Town Council meeting in March.

Firefighters Stanley Matthews and Trey Streett said they quit in March to send a message to the council and the mayor. They feel the town is neglecting the fire department and the volunteers who operate it. Only the chief of the fire department is paid a salary.

They say the town has not paid for heating fuel that is needed by the fire department in the winter to prevent water pipes from bursting. Perhaps more insulting to the firefighters, they say, is not being paid small stipends promised by the town.

Matthews and Streett said each volunteer firefighter who responds to a fire call is supposed to get $10 from the town per call. The men said some volunteers were not paid for calls in 2009.

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