Growing dispute leaves Kinloch without a fire department -

Growing dispute leaves Kinloch without a fire department

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

Kinloch is sitting in limbo without a fire department as firefighters work to settle their differences with the new chief and the fire district board.

Unhappy firefighters met Thursday with  Chief Willie Pryor and the board to voice their concerns and the meeting got a little heated. Nothing was resolved.

The firefighters are upset with how they are being treated by the new fire chief. They claim he is unqualified and does not have administrative experience.

"These meetings have progressively gotten a little more aggressive each time," said Timothy Rhodus, Kinloch Asst. Fire Chief. "All we want to do is solve the problem. There's no sense in arguing and fighting and screaming and yelling."

Asst. Chief Rhodus says his team has not been showing up for work since last Friday and are waiting until their issues are addressed. The board has responded by locking them out of the fire station and by changing the door codes.

"They've been shut out. They've been treated wrong. They're upset. They decided to strike last week and I support them 100 percent," said Rhodus. 

For now, people living in Kinloch are left without a fire department.

"It kind of makes you feel unsafe really because if something were to ever happen, I know I'd look for some support," said Michael Watts, a college student who lives in an apartment in the area. 

Residents, like Watts, instead have to depend on the surrounding cities of Berkeley, Ferguson and North East to answer fire calls.

"They won't be able to get here in time. We always need someone. It's a time-based orientation," said Watts.

The board plans to meet again next week. According to Pryor, two people have resigned and two are on leave. The remaining 16 will not come to until the current situation is resolved.

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