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Fire Chief Resigns Amid Controversy

By Meghan Pinkley
By mpinkley@wbbjtv.com

OBION, Tenn. - The fire chief and two firefighters resigned over controversy on who responds to fires in Obion County.

On Monday, after a heated meeting, Obion Fire Chief Jamie Evans turned in his fire department keys. It did not take long for a fire captain and fire fighter to follow suit.

Don Bloxom was named Interim Fire Chief in Obion on Tuesday. "I was shocked," he said. "But I'm the type of person that I'm not going to leave our citizens of Obion unprotected so I stepped up to the plate."

"I've got a lot of work ahead of me to take care of this problem," added Bloxom.

City officials said the controversy originates from the county-wide rural fire protection policy and disagreements between Chief Evans and city board members over how far outside city limits the department will travel to fight a fire. "Jamie Evan had been working his rear off trying to get this stuff done and going and they just wouldn't listen and he had a belly full," stated Bloxom.

Mayor Glen Parnell refused to talk on camera but said basically Obion does not have a working fire department because he said many other fire fighters have said they plan to resign, too.

Residents said they are confused on who to believe. "We need to have a crew of people at the fire department that we can county on," said Jeff Ashley.

Bloxom said his department can be counted on, despite what the mayor is saying. Bloxom said their roster of 15 fire fighters is now down to 11. He admits others are on the fence about resigning, but says the City of Obion does have a working fire department. "So for the record, Obion is protects, the county is protected, both medical and fire."

Obion fire officials meet again on August 6. Neighboring towns, Troy and Hornbeak have agreed to assist the Obion Fire Department if needed.

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