Board elected for Collins Chapel Fire Department

Published 12:27 pm Monday, August 15, 2016

Citizens of Collins Chapel consider nominees for the board of the Collins Chapel Fire Department on Aug. 13.(Photo by Steven Calhoun)

Citizens of Collins Chapel consider nominees for the board positions of the Collins Chapel Fire Department on Aug. 13.(Photo by Steven Calhoun)

By Steven Calhoun/Staff Writer

The Collins Chapel community met on Saturday, Aug. 13 to reorganize its volunteer fire department after its former fire chief was arrested and charged with stealing department funds.

People of the Collins Chapel community met under a large tent outside the Chilton County Extension Office. Bleachers were lined with citizens eager to bring the community’s fire department back into operation.

John Dennis, fire chief at the Jemison Fire Department, was asked to start the meeting by discussing boundary lines and fire jurisdiction. He said that it is the Jemison fire department’s responsibility at this time to cover fires in the Collins chapel community because at present there are no contracts between the Jemison Fire Department and Collins Chapel Fire Department.

According to Dennis, this can be arranged once the department is back up and running. Volunteer fire departments do not have the authority to decide fire jurisdiction; it is only by reaching an agreement with the municipal fire department that they can be granted jurisdiction over an area.

Next, there was a reading from the original constitution for the Collins Chapel Fire Department that pertains to the election of board members.

President of the Chilton County Fire Association Allen H. Goree oversaw the proceedings and recommended an external board of five members to oversee the Collins Chapel Fire Department. He reminded the attendees of the meeting that the Fire Association could not make these decisions and that he was only making suggestions.

The crowd agreed with his suggestions and moved forward with a vote by show of hands to elect a five member external board.

Seven board members were nominated: Larry Gore, Royce Littleton, Alan Payton, William Hayes, Dorothy Messer, Lee Desmond, and Helen Andrews.

An attendee moved to change the number of members so that all of those elected could serve. A show of hands vote was in favor of making a seven member external board.

Then there was then a vote in favor of the board electing its own officers at a later time. Members of the board were then accepted one by one with a show of hands vote.

After the election of the board, a member of the crowd asked when the fire station could be up and running.

“As soon as the board can get together and appoint a chief and associate chief,” said Goree. He told the crowd that the station could be operational as early as the next day if the board let him know that these positions had been filled.

County Commissioner Allen Caton told attendees that if the board chairman and secretary meet with the County Commission, they could regain access to the funds the fire department has in the bank.

The meeting was called to a close and the community thanked Goree for coming to represent the Firefighters Association and for helping with the meeting. People stayed afterwards to ask questions and express their excitement about the reopening of the department.