Ala. volunteer firefighters locked out of stations

Firefighters were told that if they attempted to obtain the equipment inside the locked station, the city could press burglary charges

By FireRescue1 Staff

SEMMES, Ala. — Semmes volunteer firefighters were left scratching their heads when they were locked out of their stations Monday. 

Although the reason for the closing of the stations is unclear, Semmes Mayor Judy Hale stated the city has created a new municipal fire department separate from the volunteer departments.

According to WSFA, Tim Hale, the head of the Semmes Volunteer Fire Department, changed the locks and told firefighters to leave. 

Volunteer firefighters and the former chief gathered outside the station Thursday in hopes of retrieving the locked up equipment. However, local authorities informed them the city could press burglary charges if they entered the station.

In September, officials voted to cut major grant funding from the volunteer department, reported WKRG. The closure of the stations also present the town with determining who owns the locked up equipment. 

Kevin Brooks was named the city’s new fire chief and has been tasked with resolving the dispute. 

“It stressed us out because that was the equipment we were using,” Brooks said. 

While the issue remains unresolved, neighboring fire departments have offered to loan their gear to the volunteer department. 

“I’m always happy to loan equipment to another department, but it saddens me that they’ve reached this point that they can’t come to an agreement,” Creola Fire Department member Jeff Reeves said. 

The volunteer department is currently using its training center and its other fire station to continue to respond to calls.

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