Whitewright Firefighters Suing City To Get Two Fire Trucks Back - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Whitewright Firefighters Suing City To Get Two Fire Trucks Back

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WHITEWRIGHT, TX -- The old Whitewright fire department is suing and it wants the city to turn over at least two fire trucks.

The suit says one truck is titled to the Whitewright Volunteer Fire Department, a private organization.

The other was bought with a grant to them. They also want hoses, equipment, and financial records.

The Whitewright Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Joshua Clouse are suing after the City Council voted to stop using them in January, then changed the locks.

"They also locked out my clients from being able to get access to certain property, including 2 fire trucks -- brush trucks -- and certain other personal property," says the VFD's attorney Hannah Stroud. "It's our claim that property belongs to the volunteer fire department as opposed to the city, so we're simply asking to get our stuff back."

Clouse says the city wanted more control over the department, so they just took over.

The suit also alleges defamation by longtime mayor Bill Goodson, who was just defeated in Saturday's election.

"He made certain statements on the local news," says Stroud. "That the volunteer fire department hadn't been doing their job hadn't been showing up and also that the individual, Mr. Clouse, had not been doing his job and not been showing up."

"It's Whitewright Fire Department and we have several of the previous volunteers," says Mayor Allen West.

West says citizens don't need to be worried because there is a working fire department now and he says as to the disputed trucks, they'll wait to see what the courts decide.

"We do have a part-time paid fire chief and he's got volunteers under him. We've never missed a call. We've never missed a minute of coverage," says West.

Chief Jake Reynolds is supervising the new department but refused an interview with KTEN.

Stroud says some of the dozen or so firefighters in the old department are in the new one, while others are volunteering in Tom Bean.

"If there's a fire they will be there. I have my fire gear -- I'm retired firefighter and I have a set of fire gear -- so if they need help, myself and Jason Summers, who's also on the council, are there to assist them," says West.

KTEN went to Goodson's house but was told he wasn't talking.

Meantime, Stroud says Clouse and the other firefighters don't anticipate ever fighting fires in Whitewright again.

"I don't see the city wanting them back and given the actions, I can't see the volunteer fire department going back either," says Stroud.

Clouse also works as a Plano firefighter.  West says they have mutual aid agreements with other towns and have been on five structure fires in Bells.  The city has not yet filed a response to the suit.