Vernon Parish fire departments discuss concerns

Vernon Parish fire departments discuss concerns

VERNON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - As KPLC reported last week, Rosepine's volunteer firefighters resigned, citing outdated equipment and a lack of help from the Vernon Parish Fire Board.

On Wednesday, they held a meeting with other local fire departments.

Rosepine's Mayor Donna Duvall spoke to KPLC by phone. She said she's been in talks with the Vernon Parish Fire Board. She said things are underway in getting Rosepine's concerns resolved, although she didn't give specifics.

But firefighters on Wednesday said that's the same thing they've been told for years.

Right after KPLC first reported the mass resignation of Rosepine firefighters, Deputy Chief Robert West said they got a special delivery.

"Mr. Haymon brought a couple pieces of equipment down. From what I understand, two pairs of bunker gear and two sets of SCBA they borrowed from another station. And that's not even 5 percent of what we need down there," said West.

The Fire Board then held a meeting on Monday but didn't publicly address the issue.

"I was sitting in the second row, they all seen me. A couple of them even pointed at me, but they didn't try to talk about it or nothing," said West.

It's one of the reasons they called together a meeting Wednesday night with other fire departments in the area.

Firefighters from Rosepine, Providence and Savage Forks attended. All said safety was their number one concern.

"You can't go into a burning building with equipment like that and expect to be safe. They teach you, when you go through fire training, fireman safety is number one because if you get hurt, they have to come in and save you. They can't go in and save this other person," said Bobby McMurtury, firefighter with Providence VFD.

But also in question is whether Rosepine is really closed.

Don Haymon said this to KPLC Monday after their board meeting, "The Rosepine station is up and running."

But Rosepine firefighters say that's not true.

"As of 9:30 last night, there was a fire page that went out for Sandy Hill, Savage Forks on a medical lift on Churchman Road. If the station was up and running, why didn't they page out Rosepine?" asked West.

At the end of Wednesday's meeting, another page went out to Savage Forks. It was a call from the Rosepine area, but Savage Forks responded to the page.

Firefighters say they hope to take their concerns to the board again to get answers.

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