Quantcast

Bennington firefighters reinstated amid controversy - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bennington firefighters reinstated amid controversy

Posted: Updated:
BENNINGTON, Vt. -

The Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt.

"Do you realize these are the real heroes of America?" asked Milo Campbell.  He hosted the event in May called Mudders Day which involved firefighters dousing a camper with gasoline, lighting it with a flare, and then driving a car through the flames. The chief of the department says he didn't know about the event, but that those lighting the fire lacked permits and liability was a big concern.

"Even if I went and got permits, the town probably wouldn't have allowed it anyway because of the toxics in the trailer," Bennington Fire Chief Shawn Gardner said.

Gardner is one of three chiefs at the department who recently suspended all those at the event pending a state investigation, but those suspended feel the permitting issue shouldn't have fallen on their shoulders.

"I'm assuming that my chief is looking out for us and taking care of us instead of kicking us under the bus like you guys did," suspended Fire Captain Roger Hughs said.

At one point in the meeting, the crowd called for Gardner's impeachment.

"You walk and you turn your back against these guys -- you're bad. You're a bad man," said Doug Whitman, a firefighter with the North Bennington Fire Department.

Though that's not something that would have been legally possible to achieve at the meeting, all those present made it clear they disagree with the suspension.

"I would ask you to do the right thing for these firemen and reinstate them until these guys do the right thing and figure it out," Milo Campbell said.

After an hour of contentious conversation, the chiefs went into executive session and voted to reinstate the members effective immediately.

Bennington police are not looking into the Mudders Day incident -- that's being looked into by the Agency of Natural Resources to see if any environmental laws were violated.

The department is still facing up to a $100,000 fine if the state determines environmental laws were broken, and each firefighter could face up to five years in jail plus a $3,000 fine.

Related Stories:

Allegations of misconduct stack up at Vt. fire department

Former fire chief faces embezzlement charges

Vt. fire chief pleads guilty to throwing flashlight

Vt fire chief pleads not guilty to car damage

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:56:58 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:57 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:57:45 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Ex-Gov. Douglas' memoir tackles gay marriage veto

    Ex-Gov. Douglas' memoir tackles gay marriage veto

    Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas has written a memoir that recounts his youth, career and Republican roots, from stuffing envelopes for presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 to a present-day call for a...
    Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas has written a memoir.
  • Landmark College breaks ground on new center

    Landmark College breaks ground on new center

    Landmark College in Putney has begun construction of a $10 million education and research center focused on science, technology, engineering and math.
    Landmark College in Putney has begun construction of a $10 million education and research center focused on science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Wallingford Cumberland Farms robbed

    Wallingford Cumberland Farms robbed

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:25:26 GMT
    Vermont State Police are looking for two men they say robbed a Wallingford gas station at knife point.
    Vermont State Police are looking for two men they say robbed a Wallingford gas station at knife point.
  • 5 boaters rescued over weekend

    5 boaters rescued over weekend

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:19 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:19:02 GMT
    Authorities rescued five boaters in distress over the weekend.
    Authorities rescued five boaters in distress over the weekend.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.