Huntington city council fires the fire marshal

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - The Huntington Volunteer fire department has been under fire and the city is taking action, most recently firing their fire marshal, who is also the fire chief of the embattled fire department.

The City of Huntington has decided to start fresh with anything that deals with fire in their town.

Two weeks ago, Huntington City Council members voted unanimously to stop funding the city's volunteer fire department. And Tuesday the council met in executive session to make another decision.

LaSalle said, "At the city council meeting they voted to remove me from the fire marshal's office."
HVFD fire chief, Jerry LaSalle who also served as the city's fire marshal says he's starting to feel like this is less about the fire department and more personal.

When KTRE asked LaSalle if he was surprised by this decisions he said, "Well not really because I heard it was coming before the meeting."

City manager, Bruce Milstead said the council's decision to relieve LaSalle of his duties was related to the situation with the fire department but couldn't cite any complaints about LaSalle's performance as the fire marshal.

LaSalle says he's not happy about the situation but there's nothing he can do about it.

"First time I've ever been fired," said LaSalle.

With no funding from Angelina County or the City of Huntington, the HVFD will have to find other ways to fight fires.

"We'll have some fundraiser to replace that and go on," said LaSalle.

And the department is working on getting their county funding back.
LaSalle said, "We're just working on getting our bylaws, all our constitution and bylaws done and up-to-date and board of directors. We'll get that straight and go back to the association."

LaSalle says he and the other volunteer firemen will continue to do their job as long as they can.

Milstead said the city council is putting together a committee to figure out the best way to start  "The City of Huntington Fire Department" in which all leaders and members will be approved by the city. Milstead says the council is working to get something done quickly but get it done right. He said this new department would receive the $30,000/year funding the council recently pulled from the Huntington Volunteer Fire Department.

Milstead says the city council will also have to work on filling the fire marshal position as well but says the city doesn't have any current candidates as far as he knows.