2013-02-09 / Front Page

Dueling fire departments scrap over Sabine

Plans for paid personnel vie with existing volunteers
By JAMES DRAPER

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Sabine/Liberty City does not

Sabine/Liberty City does not need 2 fire departments. We have already been through that mess and when a department is needed it's someone deciding which department to call. Again, we have been through that mess. The Sabine fire department is well established and what ever the problem is up there the resolve is not to create another fire department. It's just politics!!! If there was conflict with FEMA last year that's a good thing. I support the decision to keep trucks in the community and send what equipment and man power could be spared to the wildfire command station. We have two many people and agencies telling everyone what to do and be damn with everyone. I would hope that the community will make its voice heard not to support this re-start of a failed fire department. What a joke!!!

I'm very grateful for Chief

I'm very grateful for Chief Joe. I know the situation very well. How you ask? I was with the guys who are starting the LCFD. I was also a ranking officer with the SVFD. I gave that up to join them guys. After much consideration I decided not to go through with it. Because, I felt in my heart that it was wrong and guys I went to battle with I turned my back on them. A couple months back I gave Chief Joe a call and asked if I could have a second chance. I knew it was hard on it but he said sure, everybody deserves a second chance. If, it wasn't for Chief Joe I wouldn't love firefighting, I wouldn't know anything. That was probably one of the worst decisions I've ever made in my life to leave SVFD hopefully I will be able to get back on the department if not I feel lucky enough to even have the opportunity to. The LCFD will not be what SVFD is. It just won't be as stated earlier I won't go much into details but there is a whole lot more to this story than what everybody actually knows. And, I can vouch for Joe with the FEMA situation that is absolutely true. Joe main priority was protecting the people of the community. As, for the new Chief I personally think it was an excellent choice. I just hope and pray that people looking from the outside in know that the Sabine Volunteer fire department cares about the community and the Libery City Fire Department is going out of spite and anything out of spite will never last. I'm sure there will be more information as things progress. Have a good day.

I have friends on both sides

I have friends on both sides of this conflict. I also check my facts before speaking. I refuse to degrade or "call someone out" on either side. Noone is perfect and I know that if it is meant to be so be it. I recall the same thing happening right after I moved to Sabine. The community survived it then and will survive it this time. On the subject of someone's motives.......unless you are God Himself you have no idea what is in anyone's heart except your own.

So let me clear up up the

So let me clear up up the comment about Joe Johnston not following FEMAs orders during the wildfires...you did not explain why and the reason he didnt.....FEMA wanted all Sabine fire trucks to be sent to the command center they had set up @Gladewater airport...Joe refused to send all trucks.....he did send 2....he felt like he needed trucks in Sabine not in Gladewater because that would have left our community without any......and from what I remember we had many fires ALL over our community...he did go against FEMA but only to PROTECT our community.... SABINE VFD has and will continue to serve you.... I also know Joe Johnston has retired and I believe the community will support him in his choice of who he made fire chief.....Joe Johnston....volunteers.....supporters of the community.....has made the department what it is today...to find someone who will take time from their family.....and I'm talking about family dinners...school plays...getting a fire call at 3am...miss watching their kids play sports...family vacations.....and NOT GET PAID to support our community in fire protection .....takes a very special person... SVFD is a VERY respected department and will continue to serve our community.....Our community is not stupid...... I have alot more to say about the individuals in the LCFD but in due time the truth of the individuals and their attempts of becoming another department in the community will come to a end....all the members of the LCFD are individuals that just want personal glory of some kind and only want to be what they most likely never will be ...a fireman I am a proud supporter of the SVFD...I have been all my life....you see my dad is Joe Johnston and I am very proud of all the accomplishments he made as fire chief and for our community...all the fires and lives that him and all the volunteer fireman have helped and saved in our community.... SVFD will continue to be a strong....respectful...and serve our community.

We support lcfr to the

We support lcfr to the fullest and from what i can have heard that jo johnson chould not follow femas orders 2 of these men joined after the wildfires the new chief joined during so tell me how much he. Knows about being a fire chief 2 of this guys are state certified not on the vol. Side the others are taking class as we speel to git state levels there is only one guy at svfd who is state certified the rest are not even on state level so in the end my pic the new department if anything maybe they can qork together to make ower community better

Any one who wants to join the

Any one who wants to join the SVFD has to go through the Kilgore College fire academy whether online or onsite. Just like the drug testing. So therefore many of the guys on the Sabine VFD are certified firefighters in the state of Texas.

I think u should all learn

I think u should all learn your facks before you starting about how great the svfd is i did my own reasearch and learn that the great new chief they have was chraged and convicted of thief o how about the previous chief with a dwi how about the other members witg all the numerous breaking and entering they have so now how safe do u feel about your wonderful svfd thia mean tryed to inform chief johnson of the ceiminals that he had and when they did they were told to shutup and were removed they have created and wonderfull 24 service that will help to better the community there department is open to the public at all times and yes the follow crimminal history that follows the fire service guideliness may e u should learn to read a little more and since when does avfd do drug test if so how come servial members have drug charges and were convicted if u dont belive it is all on gregg county website me and my familly greatly support lcfr

Please learn to spell first.

Please learn to spell first. Secondly, the drug test are pretty important. Many jobs do drug testing before they actually hire anybody. Thirdly, the guys at Sabine VFD look at firefighting as job not actually volunteering. Those guys are very passionate about what they do. They don't need the limelight to do their job. There meetings are also open to the public.

Is this a great group of

Is this a great group of guys? I wonder if they are doing this for the good of Liberty City or some other reason. Most of us in the community have heard these names before. I am aware that at least two of them are toting around Class B Misdemeanor’s for Criminal Trespass. One is banned from Sabine ISD Property. Another was discharged from the United States Army for failure to adapt. Another is on Social Security Disability? (How does that work?)Another is under investigation for Fraud by more than one Government Agency. Yet another one of these men, (years ago) falsely reported being shot while off duty. Now these men want to represent Liberty City, they want to serve Liberty City? This may be a small community however it is not a stupid community. What certifications do these men have? I know that other departments that serve Liberty City require back ground checks and drug screens. What does this “department” have in place? As a concerned citizen, I think that some explaining needs to be done. I don’t want my community to be represented by people that have their own agenda. I don’t want questionable people having access to my home, my job, my children, or anything else. Please explain a Better department.

The upstart department will

The upstart department will not be a better department. Your talking about 6 guys. And, you made some great points about the background of them. There's also one who was let go by Kilgore Rescue. To the people of Liberty City, I wouldn't worry too much at all. You will still have a greatly respected fire department in the SVFD. When, I say respected I mean Rusk county, Gregg county, and Smith county. SVFD, has and will continue to work mutual aide to our surrounded areas, just as they would help us out. A really good group of guys at SVFD.

WOW!!! Has this "service"

WOW!!! Has this "service" just taken a giant step BACKWARDS! Shades of 20 years ago, when we had another few years of a fraction group starting another "service." Sour grapes and egos..... This community seems destined to ALWAYS try to keep itself fractured on something. Just think how successful we could be if we all learned unite and work together for common progress!

I'm disgusted in this whole

I'm disgusted in this whole ordeal. It has been going on for years. I know both departments well. And, SVFD has the respect of the people. Think back to 2011 it was SVFD that saved homes from the wild fires. The other guys couldn't follow chain of command and wanted to do their own thing. Smh.

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