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Bridger Canyon fire chief reinstated

Published On: Jun 12 2013 08:30:27 PM MDT   Updated On: Jun 12 2013 09:05:21 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

It is a story we have been following over the past several months -- the Bridger Canyon fire chief tells us most of the firefighters who left when he resigned are back on the job Tuesday night, but there's a long road of litigation ahead.

We are continuing to get the facts on these latest developments.

Bridger Canyon residents who didn't want their identities known told us on Wednesday when they heard the news about the fire department, they were surprised, and didn't know what was going on.

"I think we're all just wondering what's going on and why," said one resident.

Tuesday night a state judge ordered the temporary reinstatement of former Bridger Canyon Fire Chief Dan Astrom until June 21. The reinstatement is part of a civil lawsuit filed by three homeowners. They argue the board of trustees created a hostile work environment which caused the chief and more than a dozen firefighters to resign.

We spoke with Astrom over the phone. He said since his reinstatement more than 15 firefighters have returned to the department.

We also reached out to members of the Bridger Canyon board of trustees to hear what they had to say and received an email in return stating they could not comment on the matter.

Members of the Bridger Canyon community say it has torn them apart.

"It has really divided the community...Bridger Canyon used to be a very close-knit, friendly community where everyone was there for each other, and this incident has divided neighbor against neighbor," said one resident.

A hearing is planned for June 21, to decide what will ultimately happen. NBC Montana will continue to follow this story, and we will keep you updated as we learn more.