Deputy-Chiefs, Captains, firefighters resign from Fire Department of North Huron - Dec. 8, 2017
The Fire Department of North Huron is in a major state of flux after last night’s staff meeting, which saw Deputy-Chiefs Matt Townsend and Chad Kregar and eight captains resign and the rest of the department walk out.
At the meeting, held last night at the Emergency Services Training Centre, it was expected that an interim Fire Chief would be named in the wake of Chief Ryan Ladner’s resignation. North Huron Chief Administrative Officer Dwayne Evans, Deputy-Reeve James Campbell and Councillors Yolanda Ritsema-Teeninga Brock Vodden were all in attendance.
After a private meeting amongst themselves, 41 members of the fire department walked into the centre’s meeting room to discuss the issue. After being invited by firefighters, reporters for The Citizen were asked to leave by North Huron staff because the meeting was classified as a private staff meeting.
After the meeting, Townsend, Kregar, Captain Jeff Howson and numerous other firefighters informed The Citizen that they had resigned from the fire department.
Townsend told The Citizen on Friday morning that the decision was due to irreconcilable differences between the firefighters and North Huron.
This action comes after a closed-to-the-public session held by North Huron Council on Wednesday night where two fire department-related items were discussed. It also comes after The Citizen reported that Fire Chief Ryan Ladner would be leaving the department effective Dec. 11.
In the meantime, North Huron has enacted a contingency plan that includes the Huron County mutual aid plan and neighbouring fire departments in the case of an emergency.
Townsend wanted ratepayers to know they are safe.
“We haven’t turned our back on our ratepayers, we’ve been in contact with the mutual aid co-ordinator for the county. We, the people that left, wanted to make sure the ratepayers of North Huron were protected and were left in a situation where they are covered under mutual aid.
“I spoke at great length with Huron County mutual aid coordinator and Goderich Chief Steve Gardner and the other chiefs in the county last night,” Townsend said.
North Huron Council has called another special meeting for 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8. The meeting, which will be closed to the public, has been called to discuss personal matters about an identifiable FDNH personnel.
As of 9:30 a.m., no council members had responded to multiple calls placed by The Citizen.