MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 15, 2012

Firefighters leave Woodall volunteer department

— TAHLEQUAH — More than a dozen volunteer Woodall firefighters reportedly walked away from their duties Tuesday and Wednesday after one of the chiefs resigned, but the remaining chief says the community is still protected.

Fire Chief Jason Archer said several volunteers quit, but at least five firefighters were still with the department Wednesday and working to keep the Woodall community safe. Archer said Tahlequah and Fort Gibson fire departments are automatically responding to provide mutual aid to Woodall-area emergency calls.

“[Woodall] does have fire protection,” said Archer. “They can still call 911. The fire department is functioning fine.”

Former Co-Chief Jason Fullen said he was the first to quit during a meeting Tuesday night, and the others who left – approximately 16 firefighters, he claims – did so Tuesday and Wednesday. A copy of Fullen’s handwritten resignation letter, which he posted on his Facebook page, alleges unsafe working conditions, untrained  supervisors, unsafe equipment, and alleged illegal activity.

Fullen alleged the department lost its state licensing last month “because they were forging the training documents and the state runsheets.”

“I refused to sign the state license because of it, and we lost our license,” he said.

Fullen does not have copies of the documents that were allegedly forged, he said.

The Woodall VFD has nine trucks, but four of them are inoperable, Fullen alleges. He claims the station is flooded daily due to one leaking truck.

He said the department has plenty of funding to have the vehicles fixed, but the people in charge won’t have them repaired.

“It’s too much of a liability, and someone’s going to end up dead,” he said.

Josh Newton writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.

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