BELEAGURED WALTON FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS NEW LEADERSHIP

(02/15/2017)

The beleaguered Walton Volunteer Fire Department, facing a lack of volunteers and complaints about response times, got a new fire chief during a meeting this week.

The department has been moving toward not having enough volunteers to respond to fires.

An earlier audit discovered that department officials had failed to complete paperwork to receive state funds.

Residents, fire departments, county and state officials all gathered Monday at the fire department, at which time the fire chief resigned on the spot during the emotional meeting.

Former Walton fire chief John Kelley stepped in as interim.

Kelley said the biggest goal is to regain the community's trust.

"Tonight was a pretty stressful, emotional night for the community,” Kelley said. “The fire chief resigned, and they made me the interim fire chief until the next election, which will be in June. We had a really great relationship with the Walton community for years and years and years. We're going to try and re-establish that obviously. We need to get the faith in our fire department back. The people need to feel safe." Kelley served as a firefighter in Walton for 12 years and was chief for two years.


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