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Leadership change at Webster Parish Fire Dist. 6 in Cullen - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Leadership change at Webster Parish Fire Dist. 6 in Cullen

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CULLEN, La. -

Jasson Fitzgerald picked up his fire gear from the pile of boots, helmets, bags and clothes at Webster Parish Fire District 6 days after turning it in as an act of protest. Cullen firefighters brought threatened to quit last week over rumors that their chief, Charles Hile, had been suddenly fired.

"We need to know who's going to be our chief," Fitzgerald said. "We need to know who we're going to answer to."

Tuesday night the Dist. 6 Fire Board made it official.

Hile is out as chief. Assistant Chief Tommy Arnold will fill in until a permanent replacement is named.

Related article: Webster Parish firefighters turn in gear, threaten to quit

Chairman Kenneth Garrett says Hile's work schedule prevented him from supervising fire calls, and Hile didn't attend meetings with other area fire chiefs.

Garrett says there are enough men and women to continue staffing the Cullen station, even if some drop out in protest.

"They agreed that what I was doing was right, and they were willing to pick up their gear," Garrett says of the Cullen firefighters he met with before the Tuesday night vote.

"Mr. Hile was my best friend, still is," Arnold says of his new position and his old boss. "I still love him to death, but you gotta take care of the district."

Arnold says he's committed to moving the department forward with better training and equipment.

For his part, Hile says he will volunteer again with Dist. 6 if the other firefighters ask him to.

The board also approved an automatic aid agreement with Spring Hill Fire Department and to take their 72 ladder truck out of service.

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