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Bridger Canyon fire chief, firefighters resign

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: May 20 2013 09:02:23 PM MDT
Updated On: May 20 2013 10:13:26 PM MDT
Bridger Canyon Fire Department
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The following is a post from the Bridger Canyon Fire Department blog:

At a special Bridger Canyon Rural Fire District Board of Trustees meeting tonight Fire Chief Dan Astrom tendered his resignation to the board due to the intractable situation involving the board and himself and the firefighters. On announcing his resignation, about a half dozen firefighters also in attendance resigned as well. The resignations are effective at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 22nd, when they will turn in their pagers at the weekly training meeting. A number of other firefighters not in attendance tonight are also expected to resign at that time as well. The 48 hour delay is intended to give the board the chance to contact other fire departments to arrange for extra mutual aid coverage upon our absence or to otherwise try and insure continued protection of the canyon.

The firefighters involved sincerely apologize to the canyon for leaving them with less than desirable protection come Wednesday evening. We have tried and tried to get through to the board but they steadfastly refuse to act in good faith in regard to our concerns. Residents should expect a barrage of propaganda from them trying to make us look like the villains in all this. The attacks will be a continued indication the lack of respect they have for us and the breaking point in the situation tonight. We are volunteers who have given thousands of hours of our time over the years and to be treated with such disrespect is inexcusable and intolerable.

We would like to qualify these comments by saying that our views of the board do not extend to their newest member, Dennis Guentzel, who did his best in his short tenure with the board to try and change things. He personally called a number of firefighters and genuinely listened and actually heard our concerns. Denny, we really appreciate your efforts and consider you a stand-up guy! We wish you luck in your continued dealings with the other board members.

Click here to read the full blog. NBC Montana is continuing to follow this developing story and will bring you more details as we know them.