Pushing forward with its plan to move firefighting under the thumb of local government, the Whitewright City Council has appointed an interim chief for the city’s newly-created fire department. The department was voted into existence on Jan. 7 after the City had a falling-out with the 125-year-old Whitewright Volunteer Fire Department.

Pushing forward with its plan to move firefighting under the thumb of local government, the Whitewright City Council has appointed an interim chief for the city’s newly-created fire department. The department was voted into existence on Jan. 7 after the City had a falling-out with the 125-year-old Whitewright Volunteer Fire Department.


Jake Reynolds, a firefighter and paramedic for the city of Bonham, will serve as the department’s short-term head until the Council makes a permanent hire. The city of Whitewright said Reynolds has submitted an application for the full-time, permanent position, which closes Feb. 14.


"I just look forward to (maintaining service) and keeping it going," said Reynolds from the firehouse Tuesday afternoon. "They wanted me to help run the place and just get everything good, and that’s all I’m doing."


Whitewright Mayor Bill Goodson stood firm on the City’s decision to distance itself from the unit of unpaid citizens that formerly constituted the WVFD. The City has said it plans to staff as many as 10 firefighters, and has created a volunteer division within the nascent department.


"We’ve received requests and phone calls from people wanting to apply for the volunteer positions within the department, as well as calls of support for what the City’s trying to do here," said Goodson in a prepared statement. "So we think we’re moving in a direction that will benefit and safeguard our citizens."


For its part, the WVFD said it plans to pursue legal action against the City to reclaim, or be paid for, equipment the City has sequestered.


"At this time there are no updates," said the town’s heretofore fire chief Joshua Clouse. "The situation is still ongoing and we are securing our cash assets and allowing the attorneys to try and resolve the situation."


In a departure from comments made by Goodson last week criticizing the quality of service the volunteers were providing, the Mayor instead Tuesday thanked them for their service.


"The Council and I want to express our appreciation to the members of the Whitewright VFD for the time, effort and long history of fire protection and emergency services they have provided this area as volunteers within the community," said Goodson. "No question, their contributions have been significant."