A divide in Thackerville’s Volunteer Fire Department leads to an attempt to change leadership

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:45 PM CST
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THACKERVILLE, Okla. (KXII) - Thackerville residents line up to cast a vote that will determine if the town’s volunteer fire department see a new president in its near future.

According to officials, the demand for change in the board came after 3 volunteers were suspended after not completing the proper training to be an active firefighter in the department.

President of Thackerville Fire Department, Steve Hendrickson said, “They’re angry because they were disciplined and now at this point, they’re after my board seat. They’re trying to find technicalities and bylaws.”

However, Assistant Fire Chief, Lance Mathews, said he’s running against Hendrickson with hopes to implement changes to the department that he feels are much needed.

Mathews said, “Some change needs to be brought to our department. Fresh, new, young volunteers need to be brought in. I feel that this department can grow and grow more than what it is currently, if new board members are appointed.”

Hendrickson agreed that change may be needed within the department

He explained, “We definitely do need to re-amend some of the bylaws and make them more current... we’re a small fire department. The bylaws were set up, and the procedures and policies were set up by other board members before me.”

Ultimately, Hendrickson said he just wants what’s best for the community.

He stated, " I mean the bottom line for us is we want to be here for the community. We want to be here for the fire department and give them anything that they need to be safer in the field.”

The votes resulted in Hendrickson maintaining his role as president.

Sources told News 12 that as of the end of Thursday night’s meeting, the 3, once suspended volunteer firefighters, including Assistant Chief Mathews resigned.