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Washington Continues Plea for Fire Chief

Washington's fire station was once again a hot spot of emotion on Tuesday night.
WASHINGTON - Tuesday night was passion-filled for Washington. Community members and rescue personnel pleaded their case to give Chief Mike Vaughn a new contract.

Washington's fire station was once again a hot spot of emotion on Tuesday night.

"There's anger there's frustration. We're very disgusted with how the board is behaving at this point,” said Julie Baker, paramedic for Washington.

Community members gathered for the usually mundane fire board meeting, but the board didn't want anyone else there. They all refused to leave, and the meeting went on as scheduled.

Person after person addressed the board,

Washington resident Shane Smith said, "You're running around with Washington strong, Washington strong. This ain't strong."

Others asked for Vaughn to get another shot to lead, citing his leadership during times of crisis. And most importantly, they said he’s equally as committed when it’s not a crisis.

"If you guys were able to do so, we could all say, hey we all make mistakes,” said Brad Vaughn, Mike’s son.

One board member, Brian Barron, tried to pass a motion for a new deal, but he couldn't get a second from his other board members.

When pressed about why Vaughn wasn't renewed, board members say it was personnel-related. That's when it became personal for the crowd.

"I don't care how that vote went. Respectfully, you guys are making a huge mistake," said Travis Arnett, former firefighter in Washington. 

About one and a half hours in, Barron couldn't take it any more and left. The group no longer had a quorum to meet.

"The board doesn't care what the membership is feeling. They don't care what the community is saying,” said Baker.

Vaughn's term expires on July 31. His assistant chief is among several other firefighters vowing to follow him out the door if Vaughn’s deal is not inked before then.

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