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Two fire stations closed without warning

Two fire departments closed without warning in Bell County.

The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department oversees these two stations along with six other departments and a training center.

Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock says he still has not been officially notified about the closings.

Do Bell County Volunteer Fire Department officials have the authority to shut down fire station they oversee?

Judge Brock says that is the million dollar question.

"Presently we have litigation in federal court to ask a federal judge to clarify for us because there is a point of contingent," said Judge Brock.

Because six million tax payer dollars fund the fire departments.

"That's what we pay taxes for, and it's gone. Who knows where it went to," said Mike Owens, who lives in the Colmar community.

Judge Brock says the fire department's treasurer stated during a meeting in October that they had more than 200,000 dollars in cash.

The fiscal court then funded them 72,000 dollars more.

"We've not denied one bill for these fire stations. There's no reason whatsoever for them to be closed due to money," said Judge Brock.

Along with closed signs, the doors are locked at the two stations.

Bell County Volunteer Fire Department officials say they need more funding to keep their doors open.

"They are temporarily shutting down these two stations because their funding has been slashed by the Bell County Fiscal Court," said Mark Hayden, the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department's attorney.

Judge Brock says the fiscal court will not be giving the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department any more money as long as Colmar and Arjay Fire Departments are closed.

"How prudent would we be as a fiscal court if we continued to give money to an organization that's not doing what the money is intended to do?" said Judge Brock.

The fiscal court plans to open fire departments if the two stations remain closed.

The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department's president denied an interview with Mountain News but says department officials will hold a special board meeting on Thursday night at seven.


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