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Bonnyville fire department dispute worsens
Laura Tupper, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Wednesday, January 5, 2011 6:07PM MST
Some are calling on the provincial government to step in to help resolve a bitter dispute at the Bonnyville volunteer fire department.
The dispute stems from safety concerns that were raised by some Bonnyville firefighters and their former deputy chief. The deputy chief was fired by the chief of the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority a day after expressing his concerns.
The firing prompted 13 firefighters to leave their positions in protest. They have since been re-instated after a provincial inspection found they were justified in their concerns and that several safety problems did exist .
The province issued a total of 15 orders relating to problems that were detected. Among the findings, firefighter personal protective equipment was noted.
Deputy chief James Sharun said he felt vindicated after the provincial report showed many of the firefighters' concerns were justified.
"It felt great," said Sharun. "We actually did have legitimate concerns and we're told that they will be addressed."
But there's still division among the members with one group of firefighters still calling for the removal of the deputy chief and the chief.
Sharun told CTV news he's still trying to decide whether he'll fight for his job or simply leave. He says it's time for the provincial government to intervene to help settle the dispute.
A spokesperson for the provincial government said the situation at the Bonnyville Fire Department is being monitored and that the province is prepared to step in if assistance is requested from either a fire chief or an elected official.
The chief of the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority, Brian McEvoy, could not be reached for comment.
With files from CTV's Bill Fortier.