POLITICS
04/03/2012 02:16 EDT | Updated 06/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Angry firefighters don't trust new chief, quit Charlie Lake department

CHARLIE LAKE, B.C. - All but two volunteer firefighters in the roughly 30-member department in Charlie Lake, B.C., have quit.

Firefighters in the northeastern part of the province handed in their pagers, protesting the actions of the Peace River Regional District which fired the old chief and replaced him with someone they don't know without consulting volunteers.

Trouble within the Charlie Lake department has smouldered for nearly two years, but flared when former Kimberley assistant fire chief Steve Munshaw took over April 1, to replace the long-time chief, who was not considered for the post.

Firefighters in the community eight kilometres north of Fort St. John say they don't know or trust their new chief, a paid, full-time staff member, or the recently hired assistant fire chief, who also receives a salary.

Officials with the regional district hope the dispute can be resolved but in the meantime, fire crews from Fort St. John or Taylor, about 25 kilometres further south, will respond to major incidents in Charlie Lake.

The regional district is also launching a recruitment drive in hopes of attracting new volunteers to the fire department, which responds to about 50 calls every year. (MooseFM)

Note to readers: Corrects that volunteers quit over lack of consultation