The town of Clearwater is down several first responders after they turned in their resignation moments after their fire chief and EMS director quit.
Tuesday morning the fire department and emergency services woke up to the news that Scott Cooper, its EMS director and fire chief was suspended.
A city council meeting late Tuesday decided Cooper’s fate, and it is not what many of those who serve for him expected.
“We are standing by his side because he has done a lot of good in the two years he has been in our department,” said Madison Carney, volunteer firefighter with the town of Clearwater.
Strong words of support for EMS director and Fire Chief Scott Cooper, from local volunteer firefighters in Clearwater.
“Scott has came in and saw the issues and went to fix them and people just don’t agree with them,” said Trent Zimmerman, volunteer firefighter. “If the city council can not back the my fire chief how are they backing the firefighters?”
After being suspended Tuesday morning, for reasons the city would not specify on, council took action during a special council meeting held behind closed doors.
In front of a standing-room crowd what happened next shocked many.
“This is my letter of resignation from emergency services,” announced several emergency responders to the council.
Cooper resigned, and a large part of his team followed suit. One-by-one they threw their badges and shirts on the ground in front of the council and a fired up community.
“Our response times have been coming up? We have a cadet program that is doing outstanding!” said one community member. “I see them out in the community a lot more!”
“It is flattering to be honest,” said Scott Cooper. “Some of these kids I have had since they were 14.”
After the meeting, the former volunteers let their emotions out, crying for their chief.
“This town now has to rely on Haysville, this town now has to rely on Goddard, you are looking at 15-20 minutes before the first apparatus gets on scene,” said John Vankle, former volunteer firefighter. “This city has no idea how their insurance is about to go through the roof because of what just happened.”
While city council says they are not able to comment on the matter, Cooper says he hopes the community can move forward.
“This has been my home for two years,” said Cooper. “I will continue to love this community and move forward but my ties will always be here and I wish nothing but great success for this city.”
Volunteer firefighters say staffing at this point is minimal and they worry what would happen if a fire wer to break out in Clearwater.