Posted: Nov 2, 2011 10:50 PM
Updated: Nov 3, 2011 7:19 AM
The city of Hustonville is without half its fire department after the chief abruptly quit and nearly a dozen firefighters followed on Wednesday.
Stanley Shepperson says he was fed up with the mayor's false accusations that the department was misusing its fire hall.
"They've lost about 12 to 13 members here tonight, all certified, instructors and everything," Shepperson said.
Hustonville mayor, Cecil Maddox, tried to reassure residents that the city remains protected.
"We still have a fire department, firefighters and we have Moreland that will honor us in a fire."
The mayor also pointed out Hustonville has a mutual aid agreement with Linclon County.
At the center of the firefighter's frustrations - a haunted house. The chief allowed actors working that haunted house into the fire hall to get into costume.
"To me, it's kind of a public building because tax payer's money is the one that makes it," Shepperson said.
Maddox says the problem was nobody asked permission.
"If they wanted to use that down there, they should have asked, but no one asked," Maddox said.
And the mayor contends firefighters left the hall unlocked after the actors left.
"Plus, if they get hurt in that fire hall building, then the city is liable," Maddox said.
Maddox says his trust in Shepperson is now so low that he asked Stanley to quit. The former chief claims he was the one who took the initiative to step down.
"Well, I took the way he was talking to me that he was fixin' to let me go. Far as I'm concerned, I beat him to the punch, handed him my radio and said, 'Here, I'm done,'" Shepperson said.
Hustonville's assistant fire chief was appointed chief.