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Fire department rumors extinguished

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CAMP - Fulton County Office of Emergency Services and Fire Coordinator Albert Roork stopped rumors last week that the Camp Volunteer Fire Department was in trouble with the state and had lost some state funding.

Roork said Nov. 8 that State Fire Coordinator Jimmy Woods had received a written complaint from a member of the Camp community that the fire department was not in compliance with state rules and regulations because they did not have a certified training officer (CTO) at the fire department.

In order for the fire department to receive 833 funds from the state, they have to have a CTO. Woods said it would be fine if a CTO from another local fire department served as the CTO at Camp until members of the fire department could be trained for that position. In the past Rodney Sutherland and Danny Sutherland both served in that capacity. In the last year Rodney took a job that requires him to stay away from home a lot and Danny Sutherland suffered a stroke.

"Because Boyd Daily, who is the Viola Fire Chief, is a CTO and has agreed to take the position at Camp, their fire department is in full compliance with the law. They have filed for and received their 833 funds," Roork said. He said the department receives about $6,000 in 833 funds a year.

Johnny Davis serves as the fire chief for the fire department.

"We cover a five mile radius in every direction. We don't collect dues and are strictly a volunteer fire department. We border every fire department in any direction," Davis said.

Davis said there are currently four volunteers, Davis, Gary Cunningham, David Cunningham and Bill Loman, receiving training at the Viola Volunteer Fire Department and when their training is complete they will all be a CTO.

The Camp Fire Department is governed by a board of directors. David Cunningham serves as president. Other board members include Linda Hardin, Ken Hines, Marilyn Hines and Bill Loman.

Ken Hines said Nov. 8 that certain people in the community were causing trouble for the fire department. He did not elaborate what the trouble was.

"We are currently doing a personnel investigation and when it is complete we will share our findings," Hines said.

In a surprise move at the fire department's regular meeting Nov. 5, all present at the meeting were asked to take a drug test. Fulton County Deputy Rhonda Long was at the meeting to administer the test. She said everyone at the meeting passed the test.

One fire department member said the drug testing was done because as of January 2008, all volunteer fire department members will be required to take a drug test. Paid firemen are already required to drug test.

Roork said he has not been informed of mandatory drug testing for volunteer fire departments. "I would recommend this for all the area fire departments," he said.

A special meeting was called Nov. 7 at the fire house because there was some confusion as to whether two members of the fire department passed the test, a man and his wife. The wife retested at the fire house that evening. That drug test was again administered by Officer Long. The husband made the decision to have his drug test at the Fulton County Sheriff's Office in Salem. His test was administered by City Police Officer Mark Long. Both drug tests proved to be negative again.

The couple in question said they were told that if any drug test came back positive they would be terminated from the fire department and felt like that was what the special meeting was for Nov. 7.

"There may have been some confusion about the test. There were three tests that were administered where the THC level was a faint line. This does not mean they failed the test," Rhonda Long said. Both Rhonda and Mark Long said in their professional opinion, everyone passed the drug test.

J.L. Hardin and Hines said they just want to keep their fire department doors open and the fire department in operation.

"We are just a little volunteer fire department trying to serve the community," Hines said.

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