CLOVER, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Threats to quit from an entire fire department continue in Clover after their chief was let go. The town council held a special listening session to hear the community's concerns.
The room was packed and emotions ran hot inside council chambers. All community members listed to speak but one spoke in favor of the current chief, asking the town to keep him for the new paid position.
"Everybody here knows Charlie (Love) is qualified for the job. We all want the person qualified and we know Charlie's qualified. We want the over qualified guy. There he is, sitting right there."
"Charlie's been here acting as our acting chief for 16 years. He was there in minutes of a tree falling between our house and a life wire going down. He was there."
A dozen more stepped up in support of the fire chief, Charlie Love, who has served without any pay for 16 years. The Clover Fire Department was purely volunteer until recently. The town opened up a paid chief position and gave it to an outside applicant. In response, the entire fire department threatened to quit. This left some members of the community upset.
"The town hired a new chief. All of you have always been there when that fire call came in. Be ready and serve with him."
The last to speak, the chief himself.
"I've lost many hours of sleep on this thing. It's weighed hard on my heart. I've dedicated my life to it. I'd like to continue to serve, but that's your decision. My question to you all is will you be able to lay down your head and night that you did the right thing."
The meeting wrapped up with the mayor stating the council supports the recent hire of an outside candidate for the fire chief position. Only time will tell if the volunteer firefighters at Clover Fire Department will follow through on their threat and quit.