Local Firefighters Forced Out of Jobs, Begin Packing Up

WEDDINGTON, NC – The clock is ticking for nearly 50 local firefighters being forced out of their jobs.

“Now it’s become a reality. We’re going to be out of jobs, and it’s just a sad day to start packing,” said Chief Kenny Schott.

Firefighters at the Providence Volunteer Fire Department must be out of the fire station on Hemby Road in Weddington by Tuesday at midnight. Schott hoped the station could stay open while the legal fight against the Town of Weddington continues, but on Friday a Union County judge ruled against that.

“It just ripped my heart out when I heard that decision this morning,” said Schott.

The vice president of Providence Volunteer Fire Department’s Board of Directors says the fight is not over.

“We are suspending operations while we continue through the legal process, which are attorneys are engaged in to hopefully come back to full operation,” said Robinson.

Last month, the board sued the town after the council voted to end its fire service agreement with Providence VFD, two years into a 10 year contract. Dozens publicly spoke out and more than a thousand signed a petition for the town to reverse its decision.

In May, the Weddington mayor told WCCB the department was in a deficit and switching service to Wesley Chapel Fire Department would save more than $200,000 dollars. The Providence VFD Board of Directors says it is financially sound, and people are losing their jobs because of politics.

“Some guys make their house payments with this money,” said Schott.