Although 14 of 19 paid volunteer firefighters for Fire District No. 6 turned in their gear and threatened to quit Thursday, Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Arnold said the Cullen area is still covered for now. However, things could change during Tuesday's meeting.
"As of right now, I still have a few firefighters that have not completely walked off of the job," Arnold said. "They are still around and will still be responding as of Tuesday night."
The newly-appointed district board chairman, Kenneth Garrett, appointed a new fire chief, Gary Sullivan, without a board meeting, according to Arnold, replacing Fire Chief Charles Hile and, in turn, causing the walk-off by firefighters.
Garrett was appointed to the fire board by the Webster Parish Police Jury Tuesday, January 7, after stepping aside to let chairman David Stephens take over. However, Stephens stepped down from the position two weeks after asking the WPPJ for an extension regarding residency requirements.
According to Arnold, Sullivan has been a firefighter for five years. He said Sullivan isn't a "professional firefighter" and does not have his Firefighter I certification.
"He was terminated here about a month ago by our chief (Charles Hile) for insubordination and not being able to get along with the rest of the firemen," Sullivan said. "While he was here, he had the rank of captain. He is a paid fireman for Springhill and a volunteer for Shongaloo."
Arnold has 27 years of service and has been paid for seven years.
"I have been the sssistant fire chief since January 2013," he said.
Arnold addressed the issue of fire trucks brought up in December's Webster Parish Police Jury meeting by previous district chairman David Stephens.
"We have one in the shop and have repaired the rest of them or they are being repaired," Arnold said. "We have a fleet of trucks that can put fires out. We responded to a structure fire the other night and we had three (trucks) on the scene."
The fire district board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday at 109 Coyle Ave., in Cullen.