Quebec firefighters quit after dispute

Volunteer firefighters have begun resigning in Chelsea, Que., following a rift with management.

Volunteer firefighters have begun resigning in Chelsea, Que., following a rift with management.

One firefighter who is still working at the Chelsea fire station said a group of firefighters wanted the fire chief to step down because they do not like the way he is managing the department.

Last week two senior officers were fired, including the assistant fire chief, who is also the former fire chief and had 34 years experience. Five others, including three officers and two volunteer firefighters, have stepped down since that incident.

The assistant chief told CBC News said "it was hard to swallow" but could not comment further because he is pursuing legal action.

CEO of the Municipality of Chelsea Paul St-Louis said rebuilding is the only way forward.

"The problems are irreconcilable," St-Louis said, "It’s impossible to find a solution and departures are the answer.  It permits us to rebuild and go in the direction that has been chosen by council and by management."

Several firefighters said they were upset over the two senior officers being fired and handed in their resgination.

Enforcement of safety regulations causing divide

The enforcement of provincial fire safety regulations, which were created in 2006, have caused a divide, according to another of the firefighters still working.

stipulate firefighters need to complete 300 hours of recertification and have created a big divide between some of the volunteer firefighters and management.

Municipalities in west Quebec, including Chelsea and the Pontiac, have slowly been enforcing the rules.

There are now 30 firefighters left at the Chelsea station but there is talk more could soon resign, as well.

A longtime firefighter that quit Friday said he doesn’t believe the station will be able to continue to live up to the 10 firefighters in 10 minutes rule that the municipality currently enforces.

The mayor is calling on firefighters in nearby municipalities such as Pontiac, La Pêche and Cantley for extra help.