Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department locked out of building

HAMILTON, Texas - Hamilton city officials locked the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department out from the building where they operate.

According to their Facebook page, they say the city closed the Fire Department as of 8 a.m. on Monday.

They say they tried to get on the City Council agenda for this Thursday, but were denied.

The disagreement comes from the city initiating a contract explaining who is responsible for the equipment the crew use. While the department is temporarily back open, they're hoping to find a fast solution.

Homeowner Johnny Clepper was upset when he heard the city's volunteer firefighters were locked out this morning.

"Its not right being shut out of a building when the men want to work for nothing," Clepper said. "They've done a great job for over 100 years and they give their time. I am sure they enjoy part of it. They work hard they do a lot for our community."

Oct. 1 marks the start of the city's fiscal year. The lockout this morning only lasted a couple of hours after discussion with residents and city officials.
Fire crews say they're the ones that should be responsible for the gear, which is mainly paid for by grants.

"For little old Hamilton, we are just a small volunteer fire department," HVFD deputy chief Terry Griffin said. "We are not going to sign a contract that is not good for the volunteer fire department and it's not good for the community."

Now both sides are trying to work out a long term deal to see who will run the department. Homeowners like Clepper are worried of a lasting effect. 

"I'm sure our insurance would double on our house or even be canceled... There's not a person in town that could complain about our fire department," Clepper said.

"We'll be here," Griffin said. "That's our motto. We will be here. If somebody needs us, we are there."

The city and the volunteer fire department will meet to further discuss the contract next week.

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