Stepping Out of the Hot Seat
CHILLICOTHE, OHIO, FIRE CHIEF BRUCE VAUGHAN has voluntarily stepped down as fire chief and has assumed the positon of Assistant Chief. This caps a controversial record of continual problems and disciplinary actions that garnered nationwide attention among the fire-rescue community.
The change was effective Sunday and Assistant Chief Jeff Creed has been appointed once again as interim chief. Creed oversaw the department during the five months Vaughan was fighting his termination by Everson.
Everson had fired Vaughan in April after air bottles were found to be expired at the department and he failed to inform Everson of the issue until after being contacted by the Chillicothe Gazette. Old letters from previous administrations mentioning leadership concerns also were cited, along with the 2011 discovery that Station 1 had been operating for years without a working fire alarm and suppression system. In September, the Civil Service Commission rejected the termination and approved a 60-day suspension instead. The city and Everson did not pursue an appeal of the commission's 2-to-1 decision.
Vaughan has been fire chief for 16 years, but the past few have been rocky for him, to say the least. Firegeezer reported on the "final straw" flub with the air bottles HERE. Previously we covered the story about the missing fire alarm and sprinkler system in the firehouse HERE. That one caused the state fire marshal to require the city to pay overtime wages to keep a firefighter on dedicated fire watch patrol for 24 hrs. a day until the system was restored.
On patrol for time-and-a-half (Gazette photo)
During Chief Vaughan's tenure the fire department reduced services and manpower by shrinking back to one fire station covering the entire city for the first time since 1881 (Firegeezer report HERE).
What obstacles will face the city firefighters next will only be disclosed in time.
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