Walthourville Volunteer Firefighters Strike

Almost every member of a Coastal Empire fire department has walked off the job. Walthourville, located in Liberty County, has a force made up of volunteer firefighters. Twenty-eight of the 30 firefighters are protesting after Chief Jimmy Thomas resigned his post two weeks ago and was then reinstated by the city.

Firefighters walked off the job in protest last night. The firefighters say Thomas falsified records on two different occasions, and doesn't respond to calls nearly as much as a fire chief should.

"Like the sign says back there, we're volunteers," said firefighter Sean Smith. "I volunteer my time to come. I spend time away from my family, away from my child and things I could be doing to come here. If I could do it, why can't the chief do it?"

Because of last night's protest, Walthourville is now relying almost completely on the Hinesville Fire Department for emergencies.

The firefighters say they're planning to show up at the next city council meeting, where they'll ask the city to reverse the decision.

We tried contacting Chief Thomas for comment, but could not reach him.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com