Entire fire department in Grays Harbor town resigns in protest

Jan 3, 2022, 5:45 AM

Cosmopolis Fire Department, Grays Harbor...

(Cosmopolis Fire Association, Facebook)

(Cosmopolis Fire Association, Facebook)

All 12 members of the Cosmopolis Fire Department — situated in Grays Harbor County — resigned in protest over the weekend.

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The department is comprised entirely of volunteers for the town of roughly 1,600 people. They explained their decision in a post on Facebook, blaming Cosmopolis Mayor Kyle Pauley for removing “necessary funding, and leadership where it was most needed without plans or communication to restructure their organization.”

The post details a list of allegations against Pauley, including that he “ignored warnings” regarding a fire engine that needed repairs for months, that he “denied requests for purchase orders for materials required for recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters,” that he denied requests to pay for a COVID-19 test for a medical responder following an on-the-job exposure, and that the city failed to pay state-mandated fees for death and injury protection.

Pauley later responded by saying many of the issues the department says they’re facing are due to budget and policy adjustments that needed to be made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also declared a state of emergency for the town, running through Feb. 1 provided it is not extended at that time.

In a subsequent post, the firefighters claimed that the mayor’s explanation was “inaccurate, untruthful, and unethical.”

Moving forward, the city hopes to get support from other local departments for fire and EMS support, but no long-term plan has been finalized.

KIRO 7 TV staff contributed to this report

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Entire fire department in Grays Harbor town resigns in protest