Firefighters reinstated after contentious Bennington meetingBy Patrick McArdle
Staff Writer | June 19,2013BENNINGTON — After a contentious meeting in a packed firehouse on Tuesday night, the chiefs of the Bennington Rural Fire Department voted to restore all 15 members who had been suspended last week to active duty.
Chief Shawn Gardner said he made the decision to “try to move this department forward.”
The firefighters had been suspended because they were believed to have been involved in lighting a camper on fire at a Mudder’s Day event on May 12. The host of the event, Milo Campbell, was at the meeting and spoke strongly in favor of returning the firefighters to active duty.
Mudder’s Day, which has taken place for six years, includes mud pits through which people drive as part of the day’s contests and events.
The 15 people, most of whom were at Tuesday’s meeting, were suspended because of a state investigation into the incident. The Bennington Rural Fire Department’s bylaws call for a member to be “granted a leave of absence” if he or she is being investigated or charged with a crime related to the fire department.
About 100 people were at the meeting at the fire department’s Willow Road firehouse. Many of them made angry comments about Gardner, accusing him of not standing behind his men.
There are two fire departments in Bennington, the Bennington Fire Department which is overseen by the town and the Bennington Rural Fire Department which is funded by taxes collected within the fire district and overseen by a prudential committee.
On Monday, Joseph T. Hayes, a member of the prudential committee and fire department, was arraigned in Bennington District Court on a felony count of embezzlement. Hayes, who pleaded innocent, was accused of being involved in a raffle which was supposed to benefit the department. However, police said some of the raffle’s winners and the fire department itself were never given their winnings.MORE IN This Just InTOWNSHEND — A 26-year-old Townshend man shot his off-again, on-again girlfriend late... Full StoryA meeting of all Rutland Plywood employees is scheduled for 1 p.m. today. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Jim Jeffords' legacy, Brandon takes a few questions about proposed budget, beleaguered city playground likely to move, woman awakes to find strange man with knives standing at her bedside.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Former U.S. Senator James Jeffords dies Monday in Washington D.C., a local man is beaten and robbed while walking on West Street, Clarendon sets a tax rate and Brandon convenes an informational public meeting about its budget.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1915, the New York World publishes scoop: Thom. Edison diverts chemical from war production to help German pharmaceutical company make aspirin; on this day in 1935, Will Rogers, Wiley Post die in Alaska plane crash.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: State panel briefed on smuggling drugs into prisons; new French-German documentary about Vermont's heroin addiction; solar project at Vets Home falls apart; update dispute between Open Door Mission and treatment center.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Climatologists might not know as much about El Nino as they thought they knew. New studies show 10,000 years ago, El Nino was active, and polar ice sheets were rapidly melting — just like today.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: State colleges get a budget cut break, vandals spray paint Wallingford basketball court, state's attorney will replace lost deputies, cop lawsuit proceeds, Mendon mini-golf proposal makes headway.