Hornbrook volunteer firefighters walk off the job

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Sun, March 2 2014 at 6:07 PM, Updated: Mon, March 3 2014 at 4:19 PM

Hornbrook, Cali. -- The Hornbrook Volunteer Fire Department walked off the job Wednesday.

Assistant Fire Chief, Lee Buckley said, "It breaks my heart because the communities going to suffer." 

Buckley said he and his crew of 6 had no choice. He said there's one man on the team who he and others simply don't trust.

"He's a thereat to the department, to the safety, hes a threat to law enforcement."

 Buckley said the man is also on the fire team's governing board which is why said the board won't listen to the department's concern.

"They over did our decision and said we don't have the authority or the power or the power to vote anybody in or out. We're not allowed to dictate what goes on in the department."

Now without a fully staffed fire department Hornbrook residents are feeling uneasy.

"I'm not feeling very good about not having a fire department," said Ronald Annello. 

"How long is it going to take before the next response comes that's really my concern ...the old folks here in town," said Sharon Morin.

But Buckley said should anything happen during this time Cal Fire and Hornbrook Volunteer Fire have always had a mutual aid agreement so Cal Fire will be the ones responding.

At the same time Buckley said Cal Fire can only do so much at once.

"Cal Fire is not always here sometimes they're covering Weed, sometimes they're out in Fort Jones, and sometimes there's no coverage here."

Buckley said the personnel issues have been a concern for 2 months.

While pointing out that the whole team is not comfortable, he said that speaks volumes.

"I have to trust the person I'm going inside of a burning building with, I gotta be able to trust the person behind me when I'm tearing that car apart to get the victim out. If you don't have that trust you shouldn't be there."

 And until they can re-gain that trust, Buckley said he and his team won't be back.

"I'm not here for the board I'm not here to have the title of being a hero, I'm not in it for conversation, I'm here for the people," said Buckley.

NBC 5 tried contacting the board Sunday. They e-mailed NBC 5 a response that said they have no comment about Buckley's allegations.

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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