Officials say Haletown Fire Dept. severely understaffed after three volunteer firemen quit
A Marion County commissioner says the Haletown Volunteer Fire Department is dangerously understaffed after three volunteer firefighters quit last week.
Those firefighters tell Channel 3 their resignations were the result of poor leadership from Fire Chief Mikey Tudors.
"Three of their best firefighters resigned in one week, there's something wrong," District 2 Commissioner Joey Blevins.
A heated exchange between Haletown Fire Board Members and volunteer firefighters last Thursday ended in three members walking out the door. Freddie Barnhill, whose been with the department for four years, was one of them.
"It's either him or us and hopefully tonight the board members will fix this issue," Barnhill told Channel 3. "It killed us to walk away, but sometimes you've got to do the hard thing to do what's right."
He says poor leadership from Tudors and a lack of reliable resources for Haletown volunteer firefighters sparked major issues.
"Our trucks need upgrading, our fire hall needs upgrading," Barnhill explained.
Blevins says the issue is now community-wide with the department dangerously understaffed.
"It's put the community at risk. They are very short-handed. They've had to call upon Jasper to do a mutual aid thing now where it had them covering structure fires and such."
He believes there is a solution to this problem and with another meeting scheduled for tonight, it may come sooner than later.
"They stated they wanted new leadership and that may be what it takes," Blevins added.
We reached out to Fire Chief Mikey Tudors for comment but have not heard back yet.