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Most Firefighters Quit New Hope Fire Department

In a report from WRCB TV, Jimmy Haley has been fire chief since December, after he was named interim chief earlier in the year.

“I tolerated a lot of it to shield my men from it. But they saw me struggling and trying to deal with it, so I broke the news to them, what’s going on, and they cared about me so much that they just followed my lead,” he says.

He says they had a roster of 22 firefighters in January. Over time, the roster dwindled to six before they walked away for good on Monday afternoon.

“My spirit is broken,” Haley says. “You put a lot of work into something. And then it comes down to this, all because of one guy.”

Haley says Mayor Mark Meyers made conditions unbearable for the whole department.

“Staying after meetings, getting cussed, getting threatened,” Haley explains.

Haley says New Hope was called to give mutual aid for a fire on the interstate on June 5th. He describes it as ‘no man’s land’ because it is not in any department’s service area.

He says three of his crew responded and were on the scene with equipment ready to help.

Haley told WRCB, “All of a sudden, I get a phone call and pretty explicative, told us, told me to go get the equipment and the men back off the interstate,” Haley recalls. “We’re fired.”

Former assistant fire chief, Brandon Gilliam, says that call from the mayor is what pushed them to quit.

Gilliam says another issue hanging over the department is they have never seen proof of insurance.

“That’s supposed to be a public record,” he says with frustration. “We’re supposed to have that in case somebody gets hurt so we know what procedures we got to go through, and then the workman’s comp part, we got to know who we got to call.”

I’ve spoken with Mayor Myers, and he claims the firefighters and trucks are insured.

Former fire chief Haley says the New Hope Fire Hall is left with only two workers, who are not licensed to drive the trucks. He says if there is an emergency, he’s not sure who would respond.

www.SValleyNow.com will continue to follow this story.