Healdton Volunteer Firefighters Walk Out

7-19-04 - Most of the volunteer fire department of Healdton walked off the job Monday night, part of a protest over the firing of their former fire chief. 17 volunteers attended a city council meeting and handed over their pagers, then walked out of the building. They’re upset that Chief Mike Skinner was fired at the end of June, part of a move to cut his paid position entirely.

The city says they don't have enough money right now to pay for a fire chief, and the entire department should be made up of volunteers. But Skinner’s supporters say the cost-cutting decision could cost safety, by increasing response times for fires, and leaving the station unmanned during the day.

After giving city leaders 2 weeks of warning earlier this month, firefighters decided to strike on Monday. That leaves 2 volunteers in the department. City leaders say they’ll notify other area departments and the local EMS provider. One city official told First News that the volunteers who left “value their positions more than the life and property of the people of Healdton.”

Brandon Gossdener, who spoke for the volunteers, says they won’t go back on the job unless the paid position is reinstated.