NEWS

Winlaw fire service back to work

08/16/2013 02:17 EDT | Updated 10/16/2013 05:12 EDT
A team of volunteer firefighters in the Slocan Valley are back to work and their chief has been reinstated, just days after the firefighters walked off the job leaving the town of Winlaw without a fire department.

This week, Winlaw Fire Chief Jon Wollenberg was suspended for three months because he refused to provide traffic control for a public meeting to discuss the Lemon Creek jet fuel spill. His team of 19 volunteer firefighters quit in protest.

But last night, firefighters met with local politicians last night and they came to an agreement — the suspension was revoked and the team agreed to return to duty.

"I think everybody believes it is important that we have our fire chief and department in the area providing the service they normally provide," said Walter Popoff, director of the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Wollenberg says the chair of the Regional District of Central Kootenay apologized for how the situation was handled and reinstated him as fire chief.

"I knew from the beginning I had the support of my members, but what I didn't expect was the extreme support from our neighbouring departments, other fire chiefs from around the province and most of all our community," said Wollenberg.

Though the fire chief's suspension has been revoked, he will need to face a hearing in front of other fire chiefs for disobeying a direct order.

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