Sixteen of Inwood’s 20 firefighters have resigned after a long-running dispute with Brooke-Alvinston Council and staff.
Rob Howlett, who up until today was the chief of the Inwood department, says that spells an end to the department which would have celebrated its 70th anniversary this year.
Howlett says the firefighters have long felt under appreciated and the issue came to head recently as new requirements for training were made.
The municipality called the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office to look at both the Inwood and Alvinston departments in 2016. The OFM’s report gave 27 recommendations – many of them dealing with problems with administrative issues including not filing reports according to the OFM’s guidelines and training of the officers. A new chief was hired and a schedule for training was drawn up.
Howlett says the training time doubled taking volunteers away from family more often. There were also concerns about what training was accepted – the Inwood firefighters had been training at their hall however it was not being recognized by council and the chief, says Howlett.
Monday, 16 firefighters – including Brooke-Alvinston Councillor Wayne Deans who has served for over 40 years – resigned. Howlett says it effectively spells an end to the department.
Mayor Don McGugan says it is a difficult situation and he doesn’t have a solution at this time. He’s leaving the door open to talk to the former Inwood volunteers to try to resolve the issue.
In the meantime, calls from Inwood will be taken by the Alvinston department with the help of Oil Springs, Dawn-Euphemia and Petrolia.
For more on the story pick up the May 17th edition of The Independent in a store near you.