Washington firefighters meet to soak in news of fire chief

By WEEK Reporter

July 3, 2014 Updated Jul 3, 2014 at 10:14 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Washington firefighters say the fact their fire chief's contract was not renewed is still soaking in.

Firefighters met Wednesday night to train and discuss the Washington Fire Department Board's decision not to renew Chief Mike Vaughn's contract, which expires at the end of July. Vaughn is Washington's first full-time chief, and has been with the Department for six years.

Some firefighters say the decision came as a shock, and they're not satisfied with the board's rationale.

"Today we just talked about what's happening, what's going on, what people feel," said volunteer firefighter Richard Archdale. "There's no reason. The board can't give us a good reason. If he had done something wrong--something illegal--then fine. But, to our knowledge, he did nothing."

Fire Captain, Jacob Fernald, who lead the training that day said his goal is to help keep the team focused.

"Passions are set high right now and everyone is up and arms about the situation, but we are still training and trying to focus," said Fire Captain Jacob Fernald. "We still have a job to do. We still have to come in every day and make sure everything is getting done and getting done expertly."

As it stands, the Washington Fire Department is considered a private organization that the City of Washington contracts with. Some Washington firefighters have started a petition to have the City of Washington take over the Fire Department.

Residents have also started a petition for Chief Vaughn to keep his job.