Written by Zach Maskell
Last updated on October 12, 2012 @ 12:18AM
Created on October 11, 2012 @ 11:03PM
Some folks in the far corner of Lewis County say there needs to be a change in leadership at the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Department.
The department has run into a problem: there's 14 members, and sometimes none of them show up to emergency calls. Some residents say a few of them don't want to work under the chief, while others say there aren't jobs close by, and when the calls come in, the volunteers are too far away trying to make a living. Chief Steve Mealey said he's the only one with the credentials to be chief. Even if he left and let someone else take over, the department would have to shut its doors.
Members of the county commission were at a meeting Thursday night at the fire department, where community members packed house to try and get answers. Many agreed that rumors began spreading about the problem. A commissioner spoke up saying the community needs to come together and get more volunteers in order to keep the area protected.
Bill Cayton, a Walkersville resident and former fire chief, said when he was in the service, the department had 37 volunteers. "A lot of times [now] the whistle blows and the fire department's toned out and nobody even responds. Nobody. And when they do - maybe one man or two. You can't operate a fire department like that, it can't be done," said Cayton.
5 News talked to a few of the firemen there who said the chief's not the problem. Chief Steve Mealey said that since the community became aware they were short staffed, they've actually gained four new members.
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