MAYNARD, AR (KAIT) - The Maynard City Council held a special meeting Wednesday night regarding the future of the town's volunteer fire department.
The heated meeting lasted over an hour in front of a packed house with many back and forth comments from both those in attendance and the council members.
The majority of the meeting was in regards to the current state of the fire department and it's future. Nineteen men and women put in applications to be on the fire department. Some of those had been on the department for a number of years and had recently resigned.
The five council members went through each application and voted for or against each person.
Of those applications, only six people were allowed on. The council was split on many of the decisions.
"These guys want to be firemen and you guys don't want 'em to be firemen," Councilman, Everett Songer said to a few of the council members.
"Well, if they wanted to be, they would've stayed," Councilwoman, Ida May Weatherford retorted.
Some of those not allowed back on the fire department include the former Fire Chief Lynn Ewing. Ewing started the department and worked for it for 41 years. The fire department building is also named after him.
Fourteen year department veteran, Mike Godwin, was also not allowed back on the department. He told Region 8 News that he was upset with some of council members' decisions to not allow certain people back on.
"I felt bad because I can't come back and help the community. I'm a certified, trained officer, I've took...I've got stacks of papers this thick," he motioned, "in my training. And they don't want someone like that? There's something wrong," Godwin said after the meeting.
One man who was in the meeting, who Region 8 News was not able to identify said, "I was amazed at all this talent in firefighters, most of them that I know personally, that come here and get insulted by a bag-biting, vicious city council that's on their own agenda with an axe to grind." That comment garnered a large amount of applause from those in attendance.
Those men and women who were not accepted onto the volunteer fire department Wednesday evening cannot reapply for another 180 days.
In response to what happened in the meeting, Maynard Mayor, Gary Hart told the council that the more volunteer firefighters, the better.
"Our purpose here should be to have the best fire department that we could possibly have," Hart said. "The more you have, the easier. A lot of people may not go out to the river, go camping or anything because maybe it's like it was last year, so dry that they were reluctant, I'm sure, anyone was, to leave."
Aside from who was allowed onto the department, this situation was far from resolved by the end of the special meeting.
Region 8 News will continue to track this developing news story and bring you the latest details as they become available.