Local fired firefighters volunteer to protect their Metro East town

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by Steve Savard / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 4, 2013 at 6:15 PM

 (KMOV) – With fireworks in the air, the Washington Park firehouse lays dormant after village leaders off all of the neighborhood firefighters.

The trustees for the village of Washington Park laid off seven paid firefighters earlier this week and kept the interim fire chief in place.

News 4 went to the Washington Park Fire Department to see what’s being done to keep residents safe and found one lone firefighter volunteering his time.

Herman Shumptert has been with the department for five years and now he is the only one who is taking calls. He says the interim chief is assisting in answering those calls.

“We’re going to do our best whatever it is, a 10-50, structure fire, whatever, we’re covering it,” Shumpert said.

While the board cut the firefighters who only made $10 an hour, it kept two consultants who make $65,000.

Courtney Gordon is one of the firefighters who lost his job after being with the department for four years.

“It’s a wonderful feeling being a firefighter,” Gordon said.

He told News 4 about responding to a fire at a house on his day off. It was one of the first times he went to a call with a report of a child trapped inside.

“We’re in there trying to find the fire, trying to find the children.”

The children got out safely but Gordon said village officials need to know the residents count on the firefighters.

Four of the laid off firefighters have agreed to come in and work on Independence Day, just in case. 

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