Vance evicting volunteer firefighters to start own department

VANCE, Ala. (WIAT) — The town of Vance is telling its volunteer fire department their services are no longer required.

City administrators are evicting the fire department from Station One, after 30 years of providing fire protection from the building. Now the department has only days to pack up and move out.

“The town is bullying us just like they bully everyone else,” said Chief Donnie Allen with the department.

Being evicted from the fire station is not going over well for Allen.

“It is a bad thing because they are trying to shut a fire department down and open up one themselves but they have no certification and they just can’t open up a fire department,” Allen said. “If we pull out, then everyone on those side of the tracks is going to be without fire services.”

The Fire Station One building belongs to the town of Vance, but the volunteers do have another building and can continue to provide fire services to residents outside town limits.

Their frustrations have not been met without sympathy.

“I really do feel sorry they feel that way,” said Vance Mayor Keith Mahaffey. “It was not our intention to make anyone feel that way. I don’t know what we’ve done to create that problem.”

Mahaffey told CBS42 News that it’s nothing personal. He says the town decided to form its own volunteer fire department because he claims the current volunteers stopped providing fire protection to town residents.

“Well, we needed a station, the agreement we had with them is if they service the people in the town of Vance they can have that building,” Mahaffey said. “But they quit servicing, and we needed a station to house our fire department and so we decided to ask them to vacate that building.”

Mahaffey says his new fire department will be operating in January. Right now, residents pay Vance $60 a year in fees each to fund the volunteer department.

Chief Allen claims the town has saved thousands of dollars by starting their own fire department.

“Right now, I am providing fire services to everyone in the town of Vance for free that they are charging them for,” Allen said. “They are taking that money to save up to get their own fire department and they aren’t even certified.”

Allen says until the judge orders his volunteers to leave, he is going to stay right here to do his job.

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