UPDATE: Winlaw Fire Chief suspended; crews not responding to calls

Regional Fire Chief Terry Swan said plans coming today to deal with unfolding situation

RDCK Logo

RDCK Logo

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has issued a short release regarding fire and first responder services in Winlaw:

“In light of recent events concerning staffing at the Winlaw fire hall, the RDCK wants to assure Winlaw residents that they have fire and first responder coverage. Volunteer firefighters from the Passmore and Slocan Fire Departments have confirmed they will respond to calls. The RDCK is working to resolve the issue of long-term fire and first responder services in the Winlaw area and will keep the public updated.”

[see story below for background]

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Winlaw Fire Chief Jon Wollenberg has been suspended for disobeying a direct order and it appears no one from the Winlaw Fire Department will respond to fire calls.

Regional Fire Chief Terry Swan said by email that a plan is to be put in place Wednesday, Aug. 14 to deal with the unfolding situation.

“I can confirm that Jon Wollenberg is suspended for a period of not less than three months and is required to complete a Fire Service Supervision course (funded by the RDCK) prior to his return to duty,” wrote Swan. “The reason is insubordination — willingly disobeying a direct order. I can confirm that someone phoned Trail dispatch last night advising that no one from the Winlaw Fire Department would respond to a fire call tone out.”

Swan said there was no delay in providing a response from the Passmore and Slocan Volunteer Fire Departments.

“Residents can be assured that Fire Protection Services will be provided to the community,” said Swan.

The story first appeared on Facebook via an online Castlegar media outlet. A call placed to Wollenberg for comment has not been returned as of press time.

A call placed to the non-emergency number for the Winlaw Fire Department on Wednesday morning was greeted by a male voice instructing callers to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency; messages left would be returned by next Tuesday evening (Aug. 20).