A spokeswoman for the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department has told Gazette.net, "As of 0700 hours Sunday morning, we suffered the most devastating loss of leadership in the history of the department. Both our chief and our president have resigned, [and] the majority of our operating officers have resigned their positions as well."
This is the latest development in the battle between the leadership at Burtonsville and Montgomery County Chief Richard Bowers.
Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Chief Robert E. Ryan and four other senior volunteer officials resigned from their posts as Burtonsville volunteers Saturday while also requesting demotions from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service that oversees both career and volunteer firefighters countywide.
The move came in response to county fire and rescue service Chief Richard R. Bowers' Feb. 24 decision to transfer command of the Burtonsville station to career firefighters following complaints that the station's volunteers were mistreating their career counterparts, even urinating on the door handles of career firefighters' vehicles, said county fire and rescue spokesman Assistant Chief Scott Graham. Volunteer officials contested the complaints, saying those that were found to be substantive had been investigated and dealt with while also arguing that Bowers' action was illegal, said Burtonsville Volunteer Firefighter Department spokeswoman Tami Bulla.
Since Saturday, a steady number of volunteers have shown up to help the department staff its emergency response vehicles, according to both Graham and Bulla.
At least two command-level volunteers, a captain and a lieutenant, remain active with the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department, Bulla said, but the long-term future of volunteers at the station is uncertain.