22 Volunteer firefighters resign at once in Augusta County

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 7:06 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, Va. (WHSV) - 22 Volunteer firefighters at the Riverheads Volunteer Fire Department resigned at once.

On Aug. 14, Justin Brown, the former fire chief, and 20 others members of the company handed in their resignation at their meeting. Brown said a major reason for the resignation was conflicts initiated by the president of the fire company, Gerry Chandler.

“It was getting very out of hands; some of the members were going to contact the county administrator from Augusta County and try to get him in there,” Brown said. “Gerry looked at them and said ' well, I’m the president so I’m above the County Administrator.’”

Brown said the resignation felt like an “ultimatum” left with little choice after months of thoughts from him and the other volunteers who resigned with him.

“When I left and turned in my resignation. I hurt, I was like ‘this SUCKS’ because I really don’t wanna do this,” Brown said. “I love the Greenville community, it’s why I volunteer there. I love Riverheads. It hurt big time, this wasn’t a wind of the mill thing for a lot of people.”

Brown said Chandler “pushed” for the resignation of the former chief, even after he won an award from the state.

“He looked at our chief and said that Barry [former fire chief] needs to step down at chief because they need a new face at chief,” Brown said. “He just won chief of the year at State level.”

Along with these issues, Brown said Chandler was causing numerous other problems across the organization. At this time, we reached out to Chandler but he has not responded for comment.

Augusta County Fire Rescue Chief Greg Schacht said people in the county will not suffer from this resignation and the county will continue to work with Riverheads to provide service to the area.

“Our primary goal is to ensure that the response and service delivery out there is not jeopardized by this,” Schacht said. “We have met with their leadership and they have advised that they have members that are trained, qualified and ready to go to handle the call volume and continue to provide the service that they are used to.”