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Entire Wash. city FD resigns in protest over mayor’s actions, funding issues

Members of the Cosmopolis Fire Department said the mayor was accountable for taking away “necessary funding, and leadership where it was most needed”


The Cosmopolis Volunteer Fire Association operated for 127 years and was an all-volunteer department.

Photo/Cosmopolis Volunteer Fire Association

By Leila Merrill

COSMOPOLIS, Wash. — Cosmopolis Mayor Kyle Pauley declared a state of emergency after all 12 members of the city’s volunteer fire department resigned Saturday, KIRO Radio Newsdesk reported.

The firefighters said in a Facebook post that the mayor was accountable for taking away “necessary funding, and leadership where it was most needed without plans or communication to restructure their organization.”

Members of the department described unmet needs for things such as fire engine repairs, other equipment, a Department of Health EMS license, a COVID-19 test and fees for death and injury protection.

Pauley said that budget and policy changes were because of the pandemic and a resulting loss of funding.

“Many of the challenges presented fall onto the fact that as a volunteer department it is difficult to commit the additional time to paperwork and documentation. As stated for years, funding a part-time clerk position for the Fire Department that could handle these measures has been a goal,” Pauley said in a letter, according to King 5.

The fire association said in a Facebook post that statements in the mayor’s letter are “only written to defend himself personally and not represent the actual events.”

The emergency declaration makes it possible for other municipalities to extend emergency services to Cosmopolis. The declaration is in effect through Feb. 1, unless it is extended.

The fire department in Aberdeen can respond under a mutual aid agreement, but the mayor warned residents about longer response times.