Former Osceola firefighters want answers about forced resignation

On a snowy day back in February, it took firefighters from four different departments to extinguish a fire at an Osceola home on Elsie Avenue.

The blaze wasn't out of control, but it's one the volunteer fire department in Osceola might not have been able to manage on its own.

"We had a fire not too long ago," said former Assistant Chief Chris Boling. "Guy drives our truck there. It won't even engage in pump. Thank God Penn shows up, because we used their truck, their hoses, to put out an Osceola fire."

Former Chief Ryan Deal and Boling say it's a situation they'd been trying to remedy for the past year.

As leaders at the department, they say they raised training standards and helped to get outdated, malfunctioning equipment fixed.

All measures they thought were making Osceola safer.

"We wanted to provide adequate fire and EMS for the town," said Deal. "That's in the job description for chief. However, I cannot do that with equipment that was outdated, with guys that aren't trained properly."

Despite their efforts, last Monday Deal. Boling and two others were called to a special town board meeting.

They say at the meeting, they were taken into a room individually and told to sign a paper stating their resignation; if they didn't, they would be fired.

"I asked him why and he said they wanted to go in a new direction, they're not happy with the way things have been going the last year," Boling said. "Couldn't get him to explain what."

After all of their dedication to the department, the piece of paper puzzled the firefighters.

And, more than a week later, it still has them fired up, wanting answers.

"It's the fact they didn't confront us before hand," said former Lieutenant Justin Barber. "They just went ahead and were like, you're gone."

NewsCenter 16 tried contacting the town board Wednesday.

Board members declined to go on camera, but one told us they've dedicated thousands of dollars this year to repairing equipment at the fire department that former leadership claims is in poor condition.

The board member also tells us they are only committed to replacing the chief at this time.

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