Inwood firefighter resign spelling end to department

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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.

3 Responses to “Inwood firefighter resign spelling end to department”

  1. Firefighter

    Chief Jeff M hasn’t been given the easiest task. Almost like trying to make peace between the Hatfield and McCoys. It’s my understanding that when the search for a chief was undertaken, Steve Knight whom is largely regarded as one of the most respected members of the fire service community applied and was picked over for the current chief. One had to wonder what or whom motivated such a choice?

    Oh that’s right, Steve was likely saw as too qualified and less likely to be influenced by any particular side.

  2. Rob Lyman

    The Inwood firefighters are making it sound like they’re the only firefighters in the province required to meet these MINIMUM STANDARDS!
    You can’t train too much for a job that can kill you – and that’s exactly what this is. How will the community that they “serve” feel when they arrive to a house fire without the proper training to make an interior attack or perform a search?
    As far as feeling underappreciated? Here you go boys “Thank You For Your Service”.

  3. Gary

    Is Inwood it’s own fire department , are they not a service of the amalgamated municipality of Brook-Alvinston,I think the firefighters in Inwood should know they are part of something bigger than just one station. They do have a point about more time away from home and families , but this a trend elsewhere and as volunteers have been dealing with for over a decade. I would ask what is the downside of receiving training , the training will improve the capabilities of the station , embrace your other station after all we are all brothers and sisters. The province is going to require mandatory training and certification. (granted increased time) I hear some want to see the chief fired , fired for doing a job that has to be done, The OFMEM left 27 recommendations largely training related and documentation. Inwood firefighters need to realize that in most things documentation is required for training , if it’s not documented it didn’t happen . If it’s time to move on so be it ,but say you are not willing to be a part of the station because of time commitment. I as a rate payer (different Municipality) I’m glad our firefighters are trained to NFPA standards (I have been involved in helping our first responders for over 19 years to meet the standards) Please take your head out of the sand and be apart of a positive trend to become a more competent first responder. Councils don’t at times seem to appreciate all you do ,but understand the fire department is only one part of their duties , and can do a better job of taking care of it’s first responders. Embrace being one of two stations and share the pride with Alvinston station ,m I sincerely hope this can be fixed , but if 16 firefighters have to move , so be it ,but don’t blame others, this behavior is almost pathological in nature


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