The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 13, 2012

Smithers fire department shut down

The Smithers Volunteer Fire Department has been shut down as officials try to confirm whether their several insurance policies are up to date.

“We can’t confirm that they are enforced policies. Until they have proof, they are not responding to calls,” says Fayette County Emergency Services Director Theresa White.

Both Montgomery and Boomer fire departments are answering calls in the meantime.

Once it is verified that payments have been made, it is unclear whether the department will continue to run independently or become a substation of a neighboring fire department until it can get back on track.

Fayette County Fire Coordinator Steve Cruikshank planned to attend a town council meeting in Smithers on Monday to speak with council and gain consensus on next steps in the transition.

The Fayette County Commission discussed the future viability of the department at a meeting on Friday. The department’s chief, Tim Whittington, has been accused of misuse of funds. The station is being audited and both the state and Kanawha County Commission have suspended any payments in support of their work.

— E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com

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