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Hollins volunteer firefighter leader talks about suspensions

By Chris Hurst, churst@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jan 23 2014 11:13:19 PM EST
ROANOKE CO., Va. -

For the first time since all members of the Hollins Volunteer Fire and Rescue department were suspended for a month, volunteer leaders are going on the record.

Accusations of bullying and intimidation between the two departments caused Roanoke County officials to place everyone in a cooling-off period.

The suspensions could end as early as next Thursday, but no word has been given on the terms of reinstatements.

Tonight, Rescue chief Jeff Edwards told me they've hired a mediator and have received training from county human resources.

He says the volunteers want to work together and be more tolerant of others.

“I think the one thing we all agreed on was that if something major happened we were there for the call, that was never in doubt. I think the atmosphere was back at the station and I think we've taken positive steps that we're working toward to get through this. You start from the bottom and you work your way up,” Hollins Rescue Squad Chief Jeff Edwards said.

While on suspension, volunteers can't go to the fire station except for weekly mediation sessions on Sundays.

Career staff and other volunteer stations and are handling the Hollins coverage area.