Posted: Apr 14, 2011 10:07 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Apr 14, 2011 10:28 PM
A volunteer fire chief is under investigation in St. Mary Parish.
Parish officials say the investigation began a chain-reaction leading to the dissolution of the Four Corners Volunteer Fire Department.
This follows some heated arguments between the chief and the fire district. Councilmen say the chief even made threats to ignore an emergency.
"'We had better pray,'" Councilman Craig Matthews quoted, "because the department was not going to respond to our needs."
Matthews says former fire Chief Mark McLean made that threat before he was forced to step down.
"He began to deliberately defy the board." Matthews says by, "creating opportunities of threat and sabotage."
An investigative audit now hangs over Chief McLean.
Councilman Matthews says for the past decade, McLean had complete control over Four Corners' expenses until a new fire board recently took office; taking away his compensation.
"The volunteer fire chief who is responsible for identifying necessary expenses within the fire department was basically writing his own ticket," Matthews said.
After calling McLean a number of times, KATC stopped by his home, looking for a response. However, a woman answered the door to tell us, "he doesn't have a comment."
St. Mary Parish took control of Four Corners' fire equipment Monday night- leaving it up to surrounding fire departments to fill the void.
"Where we are today is better off and a lot safer than where we were several years ago." Matthews says, "the board is making strides to improve and enhance the quality of fire protection services in this district."
Matthews expects the audit to be complete within the next two months and the fire board plans to name an interim chief by Friday evening.