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West Elmira Fire Department loses around 12 members

WEST ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) - UPDATE (4:34 PM): William Michalko has released the following statement on his Facebook page:

"Not that I have to prove anything as numbers show, everything I’ve done in public service has been done with the best interest of the Organization and Community in mind. I don’t care for a personal agenda as others do and spend most of my time focused on helping others. Contributions made have been selfless and seemed to be never ending at times but always with the best interest of the organization and community in mind. I was employed at two jobs, working a minimum of 85 hou...rs a week, then volunteering as well and placed an extra 20-30 hours in helping members become good firefighters within the same organization. There is a regime within the walls that is strictly focused on personal gain and not the job at hand and I didn’t fit their agenda because I am a leader. This is a very unfortunate time, I’ve made a lot of sacrifices including time away from my wife and family for jobs and the community I take pride in serving. I am thankful for the amazing support from my fellow firefighters and the community as a whole, Thank You.

Capt -"

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UPDATE (10:52 AM): West Elmira Fire Chief Jon Vonhagn tells 18 News that the decision was made by the board of directors and that he was not authorized to speak for them, and that the matter concerned a paid employee, not a volunteer member of the department.

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Sources tell 18 News that around 12 members of the West Elmira Volunteer Fire Department have resigned Thursday night after the firing of a fire captain at the department.

The resignations are a result of the firing of Fire Captain William Michalko, who was reportedly let go after calling in sick in order to attend the funeral of 29-year old David Miller of the Wellsburg Fire Department last week, sources close to the situation said.

West Elmira Fire Chief Jon Vonhagn told 18 News that the matter is an "internal disciplinary issue" and that was all he could say at this time.

Some residents expressed concerns about the potential lack of fire protection, and Vonhagn said the town would be covered by a mutual agreement with other stations in the area.

Stick with 18 news for the latest on this story.


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