Former longtime Starks volunteer fire chief speaks out

Former longtime Starks volunteer fire chief speaks out
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC

STARKS, LA (KPLC) - Many in the Starks community have been trying to figure out why longtime volunteer fire chief Corey Blanchard resigned weeks ago.

"I got asked numerous times why we are not hearing your side," Blanchard said.

But now, we are hearing his side. The former Starks volunteer fire chief decided to speak up after rumors began swirling online.

"Stealing money... I have no access to money, have not had access to money," he said. "It was put out there that I was demanding a salary."

Blanchard says money was not the reason he left the department, but instead issues involving lack of training and equipment for his firefighters.

"I don't want to put a recondition air pak on that I don't know is going to work or not and go into a structure fire," he said.

Blanchard said he found out other departments in the area had a chief's truck and some sort of a salary, and he wanted the same so their fire department could be on par with others.

"I was told I can have one," he said. "They'd go get it, but it had to sit at the station and when we had a call, I'd had to leave my house go to the station even if it meant passing up the accident or whatever…go to the station, get the chief's truck and go back to the scene. That really made no sense."

Blanchard had been with the department for 26 years, ten of those he served as chief, and admits leaving was a hard decision.

"It's sad this is my hometown," he said. "I lived here all my life, and it's going to take the community getting together to put the department back together."

While Blanchard would love to come back and serve his community if things change, he hopes they understand why he had to step down.

"A person can only take so much for so long," he said. "You get told no so many times, (so) you have to try and find another route. Basically I am trying to find another route."

Blanchard says he's working for another fire department nearby. He also says some in the community are collecting signatures, which they plan to bring to the police jury in an attempt to get rid of a certain board member.

While 7News was told there is a working volunteer fire department in Starks, the man appointed- Brance Sarton- resigned Monday.

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