More than 12 firefighters resign from Tenn. fire department

By FireRescue1 Staff

WHITEVILLE, Tenn. — Over a dozen volunteer firefighters resigned after a meeting with city and fire officials.

Former Assistant Fire Chief Jonathan Swarey said he quit after a “heated” city meeting about changes in the department, according to WBBJTV.

“I finally got to the point [Monday] and this weekend that, you know, I’m here to fight fires, here to do EMS work,” Swarey said. “I’m not here for drama and politics. I don’t have to put up with this.”

One of the department's requested changes included new turnout gear.

“If somebody gets trapped with one of these, what are the chances of survival? And there were turnouts that were literally coming apart,” Swarey said.

The fire department also ordered new pagers and radios, and the city said they did not approve of the purchases.

Fire Chief Ernie Berkeng said the roster of 23 volunteer firefighters is now reduced to around three or four.

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