Fire chief resigns, firefighters locked out of firehouse

FireRescue1 Staff

ROSEBURG, Ore. — The Lookingglass Rural Fire District has not been able to respond to fire calls since July 9.

KVAL.com reported that the combination to the lock on the building has been changed, and firefighters can no longer access the fire station

A special meeting was held Wednesday where citizens and firefighters hoped to voice their concerns, but the board adjourned the meeting after accepting the resignation of Fire Chief Steve Rhodes.

Chief Rhodes said that in early July he found out the workers compensation coverage for the fire district had lapsed, according to the report.

"I wanted to know who was responsible for it and how it was going to be stopped in the future, and all I got was excuses," Rhodes said. "So I lost my temper and decided to leave rather than get anything more inflamed.

The department cannot function without a chief, so the board went to another fire district for help

"We made an immediate emergency decision to provide resources in the event that they have a call," Chief Greg Marlar with Douglas Fire District 2 said.

In response to why the firefighters were locked out of the fire station, the fire district board issued this statement:

"The bylaws of the district state that whenever the fire chief leaves, the combination to the door locks are changed. This is a matter of security. The board has already determined that personnel files, which are property of the district, are missing and need to be returned."

The next board meeting is set for August 13 at 7 p.m.

"There's a big issue here of trust between us and the board," Rhodes said. "We're all firefighters, been through our background checks, through the Department of Public Safety and Standards of Training, and we believe that the board shouldn't be in those files."

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