Charlotte fire chief resigns following mass resignation of volunteer firefighters

Community worried response times will be longer
Charlotte fire chief resigns following mass resignation of volunteer firefighters
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - It’s going to take longer for firefighters to respond to a 911 call in Charlotte for a while after most of the department’s staff quit Monday night.

Background: All active volunteer Charlotte firefighters resign ‘effective immediately’

Charlotte Fire Chief Robert Vogel announced his early resignation Tuesday. His last day is now April 4.

People in the small town are now worried longer response times could make things even worse for the community. Charlotte is left with six full-time firefighters, all of them are in administrative roles.

People at the salon next door said they’re surprised all the volunteers quit.

“They’re really busy, so that’s going to be hard,” said Lynsey Bowden. “I’m kind of worried they aren’t going to be able to respond to calls as quick and there might not be as many people available to help.”

And Bowden said it happens pretty often.

“They’re coming probably 10 times a day sometimes, it’s crazy,” she said.

The Charlotte Fire Department said it responded to 1,056 fire and medical calls ins 2021. That includes calls in the five townships outside the city where Charlotte is the primary fire department.

“It’s worrisome. My daughter works at a nursing home and she has to work with them quite a bit as well,” said Jackie Romero. “This is such a small community, but it is a large farm town, so there are already some delays for some of the more rural areas.”

Charlotte was the primary fire department at the fatal house explosion in Eaton Township on March 1.

Romero said she could see the volunteers quitting after that.

“I know that would’ve been a very hard call to take, there could be a lot of trauma from it,” said Romero.

Charlotte’s mayor Michael Armitage said the city is going to stick with the volunteer format simply because the cities and surrounding townships can’t afford to make more firefighters full-time.

Update: Charlotte city officials meet with volunteer firefighters in effort to rebuild department

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