All 19 members of a volunteer fire department in southeastern B.C. have resigned to protest the suspension of their chief.
It means the roughly 400 residents of the Slocan River community, 46 kilometres north of Castlegar, have no local fire coverage, although crews from Passmore and Slocan will respond to calls.
In a letter posted online, fire chief Jon Wollenberg says the Regional District of Central Kootenay suspended him for at least three months after he refused a recent order to have his members direct traffic at a non-emergency meeting linked to last month’s jet fuel spill into nearby Lemon Creek.
Wollenberg defends his refusal, saying he understands a chain of command is required, but if no emergency exists, volunteers should not be forced to provide their services.
Wollenberg says all members of his department agree with his opinion and have decided that any disciplinary action against him will be served by the entire group.
A meeting between regional district officials and the Winlaw, Passmore and Slocan City fire department volunteers is expected to be held Thursday, with the regional district hoping to update the situation by Friday.