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Fire chief axed; department volunteers quit

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JOEY DAUBEN
The Ellis County Press

WILMER - In another power shift at the Dec. 19 meeting, former Mayor Eugene Lowe was hired as the Wilmer fire chief, replacing Dwayne Longino, who was fired.

Fifteen members of the Wilmer Volunteer Fire Department walked off the job Friday in protest of Lon-gino's firing.

'Without a fire department, we're S.O.L.,' said Teresa Martinez, the wife of Councilman Henry Martinez. 'Unless we have mutual aid from Hutchins, we have no fire department.'

Don Hudson, Billy Wickliffe and Tiny Lange voted to fire Longino and hire Lowe. Petton and Martinez voted against.

The audience erupted when the vote was taken to hire Lowe. A petition of the fire fighters' disapproval of Longino's termination was presented before the vote was made.

After the change, Longino, a Linda Root appointee, walked up to the council table and handed in his badge.

Sunday, Dec. 22, another altercation between citizens took place at the Wilmer Fire Department, then later that day, some of the volunteers returned to work.

'The citizens of Wilmer shouldn't have to pay for this [political dispute], we serve the people,' said one volunteer. He said the volunteers were not willing to leave the city unprotected, even though they do not believe Lowe can effectively run the fire department for the city.

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