Firefighters locked out of fire station

ROSEBURG, Ore. - The Lookingglass Rural Fire District has not been able to repond to fire calls since July 9.

The combination to the lock on the building has been changed, and firefighters can no longer access the fire station.

A special meeting was held Wednesday night.

Citizens and firefighters hoped to voice their concerns, but the board adjourned the meeting immediately after accepting the resignation of Chief Steve Rhodes.

Rhodes said that in early July, he found out the workers compensation coverage for the fire district had lapsed.

"I wanted to know who was responsible for it and how it was going to be stopped in the future, and all I got was excuses," Rhodes said. "So I lost my temper and decided to leave rather than get anything more inflamed."

The department cannot function without a chief, so the board went to Douglas Fire District 2 for help

"We made an immediate emergency decision to provide resources in the event that they have a call," said Chief Greg Marlar with Douglas Fire District 2.

So why were firefighers locked out in the first place?

The fire district board issued this statement:

"The bylaws of the district state that whenever the fire chief leaves, the combination to the door locks are changed. This is a matter of security. The board has already determined that personnel files, which are property of the district, are missing and need to be returned."

"There's a big issue here of trust between us and the board," Rhodes said. "We're all firefighters, been through our background checks, through the Department of Public Safety and Standards of Training, and we believe that the board shouldn't be in those files."

The next board meeting is set for August 13 at 7 p.m.