Internal politics apparently instigated the upheaval of a pair of Warren County volunteer fire departments this week, but local fire officials don’t expect an impact on emergency response.
At least six members of the Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Company — nearly one-third of the department’s total muster — resigned Thursday night after new officers were elected, multiple members have confirmed.
Town and department officials cited a power struggle that had been building among members hoping to succeed outgoing Chief Stan Ross, who was retiring from the company after three decades because of a health condition.
“We had a little coup,” said Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas.
Ross was planning on stepping aside before Thursday’s vote, he said.
But after months of jockeying for the leadership post resulted in longtime member John Thomas being elected chief, angered many of Ross’s supporters, members and town officials said.
“I guess I went out with a bang,” Ross said Friday.
Internal political strife is not uncommon in small volunteer departments and sometimes results in the departure of scorned members following a contentious election of officers or amid power struggles.
Chief Thomas said Friday the resignations resulted from a “difference in personalities,” noting two new members were also added Thursday night and fire service in Stony Creek shouldn’t be impacted.
“As far as fire protection, everything is as good as it was before,” Thomas said.
A number of South Queensbury Fire Department leaders also resigned this week. Warren County Fire Coordinator Brian LaFlure said he was aware of a leadership shuffle in South Queensbury’s ranks.
“As long as they’re doing their job, it doesn’t matter to me who the chief or president is,” he said.
Calls to South Queensbury’s station and the home of the acting chief were not answered this week.