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Fire chief quits, several firefighters follow suit

Chief Brian Schmitt was under fire for not meeting the town's firefighting certification requirements


By FireRescue1 Staff

WILSON, Wis. — A fire chief and several firefighters quit the fire department Tuesday.

Earlier this year, town officials were debating whether or not to keep Wilson/Black River Fire Department Chief Brian Schmitt, who did not meet the town's firefighting certification requirements.

Chief Schmitt said he went through the certification classes, but never took the final exam. Due to a set of bylaws for the fire department, officers must have a certain certification, reported the Sheboygan Press.

The problem came to a head in January when the fire department was switched from a private entity to a branch of the municipal government.

Chief Schmitt, and other firefighters, argued that he had the necessary skills to do the job and should be grandfathered in. The town agreed to give existing officers two years to meet in the minimum standards. However, Chief Schmitt would have to take the classes over again. He declined, citing time commitments with his job and family.

"Enough is enough," Chief Schmitt said. "They put me in a position where I couldn't achieve what they want. Obviously, I could take the 112 hours of courses, but we know where I am with that. That's not possible, so enough is enough."

The town also declined the chief's letter of equivalency in lieu of the certification, according to the report.

Chief Schmitt announced his resignation at a meeting Tuesday night; several firefighters followed suit, including at least one assistant fire chief.

An interim chief will be named during a meeting April 17.

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