Volunteer firefighters in Maryland were issued trespass notices after they tried to remove equipment from the station the night of Feb. 22, according to a newly released Salisbury Police Department incident report.
In the ongoing saga in Salisbury Maryland, the Daily Times is reports a copy of the police report was made available following a request under the Maryland Public Information Act.
Tensions began to rise Feb. 22 after a news release announced that Company 1 had decided to separate from the Salisbury Fire Department effective July 1.
The release said Company 1, the volunteer unit at the station on Beaglin Park Drive, had decided to separate from the Salisbury Fire Department in July after the city refused to participate in formal mediation to iron out disputes over station staffing.
Members of Company 1 decided to separate from the city over disputes about finances and the appointment of a deputy chief. When the city refused to take part in formal mediation, firefighters voted to separate from the department.
In a second news release issued by Company 1, members said the city has locked them out of Station 1 and threatened them with criminal trespass charges.
Although the Daily Times first reported police “threatened” trespass notices, new information uncovered through the FOIA request indicates they were in fact issued to firefighters Cory Polidore, Eric Foskey, David Elliott Sr., Justin Elliott, Jim McIntyre and Rob Johnson. It also says the trespass notices were handed out by city Fire Chief Rick Hoppes.
Mayor Jake Day has said the city declined to press charges. He also said the volunteer firefighters may return and collect their personal belongings and anything owned by the fire company, such as files.
Hoppes said at a Wicomico County Council meeting on March 2 that both sides needed time “to sort out who owns what” before anything was removed from the building.
Although Company 1 volunteers don’t feel appreciated and their concerns have not been mediated; they’re not deterred from wanting to serve the community.
Polidore told County Council members at a gathering in early March the volunteers are in the process of finding a new building and equipment with plans to take over a part of Wicomico County currently served by the city fire department.
The Daily Times reports Company 1 is working toward finding a location for a new station and plans to acquire two fire engines, a tanker truck and two ambulances.
Polidore said the company has set an annual budget of $567,000.
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