Crisis at Riverheads Volunteer Fire Department: 21 Members Resign
Written by: Sam Orlando
STAUNTON, VA — A startling revelation came to light tonight concerning the Riverheads Volunteer Fire Department in Augusta County. Justin Brown, one of the firefighters, publicly announced that 21 members, including himself, have tendered their resignation from the department. This unprecedented exodus might severely impede response times for emergency calls in the Greenville area and surrounding regions.
The underlying reason for this mass resignation appears to be internal strife and ongoing issues with the department's current president, Gerry Chandler. Since assuming his role in January, Chandler, with the backing of the department's board, has allegedly made a series of decisions that have caused discontent among the ranks.
Among the many grievances aired by Brown are:
Cancelling this year’s banquet, an event that hasn't taken place since 2017.
A required approval process for department decisions, including events like the chicken BBQ, a significant fundraiser for the department, that Brown says now must be controlled by Chandler.
Targeting specific members for personal reasons, including jeopardizing their jobs. Of particular note is the alleged targeting of the department's Chief, who was recently honored as "Chief of the Year" for the state of Virginia.
Residents in the impacted areas, including Greenville, can potentially expect longer wait times for 911 responses. According to Brown's statement, the remaining team, if they respond, will mostly consist of older members with little to no fire training.
The areas that will likely be affected include regions from interstate 220 to 205, Stuarts Draft for medical calls, and fire calls in Middlebrook, Raphine, Spottswood, and Mint Springs. Residents and commuters in these regions might experience compromised emergency services.
Brown's post concludes with an invitation to the public to seek more information from the president of the Riverheads Volunteer Fire Department or the Chief of Augusta County Fire and Rescue.
Attached to Brown's statement is a somber photograph of the meeting where the 22 members, presumably some of the department's most committed, handed in their resignations.
This situation underscores the critical role of volunteer fire departments and the challenges they face, both externally and from within. It also serves as a clarion call to the Augusta County community about potential safety concerns.