Fire chief, firefighters, paramedics quit, leaving area sparsely covered
OBION COUNTY, Tenn. — The Obion Volunteer Fire Department is looking to restructure its leadership and recruit new firefighters after their chief and several other first responders stepped down from the force.
Monday night, Obion Fire Chief Jamie Evans laid out a 14-point plan for fire protection that left out a ten square mile patch inthe southwest corner of the county.
Board member Renee Webber introduced a plan of her own at the meeting that covered the entire county. After a fiery debate, the city was left without a plan and without a fire chief.
"You can only beat a mule so many times before it lays down and that's what's happened to Jamie. He's just tired of getting beat," said Interim Fire Chief Paul Durey.
Several other firefighters and paramedics followed Evans out the door. Obion had 25 volunteer firefighters before Monday night but now they're down to 11, according to Duren.
"As far as the paramedics side of it, we have three first responders on the fire department side left," he said.
The interim fire chief said people living inside the Obion city limits are still covered thanks to mutual aid coming in from other cities in the county.
There is still no plan in place for coverage in the county.
"It costs the town for us to go out of city limits," Duren said. "Somebody's got to eat that bill and if the people in the county or rural areas aren't willing to pay, the town will. There's no industry here. It's the citizens' taxes."
The Obion Volunteer Fire Department will have an in-house meeting at the end of the month to come up with a new leadership structure and a plan for recruitment.
City officials will meet Aug. 6 to review a new plan for fire coverage throughout the county.