WASHINGTON, Ill. — Washington Fire Chief Mike Vaughn tearfully thanked a standing-room-only crowd Monday night at the Washington District Library for a City Council meeting.
About 100 residents and firefighters, some who spilled into a hallway, came to show their support for Vaughn, whose contract wasn’t renewed last month by the board that oversees the Washington Fire Department, a not-for-profit organization. “I could never imagine what happened to us on Nov. 17, and I could never imagine what has happened now,” Vaughn said. He was referring to the EF-4 tornado that ripped through Washington and the board’s decision seven months later to let him go.
He asked the board to give him back the job he loves, and the crowd responded with a prolonged standing ovation. Vaughn, 55, is the department’s first full-time fire chief. He was hired by the board in 2008 after retiring as East Peoria’s fire chief and was granted a three-year contract renewal in 2011.