Dozens of Owego firefighers turn in uniforms

By Perry Russom

May 30, 2014 Updated May 30, 2014 at 10:45 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) The Owego Fire Department lost a quarter of its volunteer members after 35 firefighters turned in their uniforms and gear Friday night.

Friday was the latest -- and most drastic -- move of a months long battle between volunteers and the village board.

Late last month, nearly two dozen Owego volunteer firefighters threatened to drop their equipment and quit if the Village of Owego Board failed to approve new rules, known as Standard Operating Guidelines, for the department.

The rules weren't approved during an April 29 village board meeting, but firefighters didn't walk out either.

The S.O.G covers everything from safety, to training, to the department's leadership structure.

Owego Fire Chief Scott Gurney turned in his uniform Friday night. He said one of his reasons circled around safety concerns.

Owego Mayor Kevin Millar said he's "disappointed" in the firefighters who turned their uniforms.

He said until he sees resignation letters, he still considers them members of the department.

If there was a fire in Owego, Millar said they would have to call for mutual aid.

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