RED SPRINGS, NC (WMBF) - The town of Red Springs could now be without a fire department after a dispute over policy changes. Last week, the department protested a new policy on responding to traffic collisions, and now the town has let go the fire chief and assistant fire chief.
“At this point I don't know that the doors would come up, there's a handful of firemen left, there's no chief, there's no officers,” said former Fire Chief Tim Beasley. “I was almost in tears yesterday at town hall. We did not anticipate it to come to this.”
Last week, several firefighters stepped down because of a policy change, but still agreed to work for the town.
They weren't happy with a new town mandate to have police respond to and evaluate certain traffic collisions before fire could come out.
At last night's town hall meeting things got worse. The fire chief and assistant fire chief were indefinitely suspended. Other firefighters handed in their gear and left the department in protest.
“There's actually one of our firemen,” said Beasley mid-interview when a fireman pulled up to the station.
“I don't have time for the drama,” said former fireman Rodney Maynor while turning in his gear. “I have too much else going on in my life right now.”
“My worries right now is, if we have a call, whether it be a structure fire or motor vehicle accident, or any incident, what would the citizens do?” asked Beasley.
We spoke to the mayor about the recent changes and he says this is simply a personnel issue. He says the town has nearly a dozen volunteers asking to start, so the citizens' safety will not be at risk.
Beasley disagrees and says it's crucial the town fixes this problem so no one in or around Red Springs gets hurt.
“The ball's in the town's court at this point,” he said.
The mayor says he hopes the town can sit down with the former firefighters in the next few weeks and work this problem out.