Fire Services Divided?

Things are heating up as disagreements in fire services create a rift between city and county leaders, the added heat forcing them to go their separate ways.

The Mayo Volunteer Fire Department has been serving the city for roughly 35 years. Now the Lafayette County Commission is forming a new volunteer fire department.

Jake Gavronsky, a Mayo resident, said, "It's really wonderful for the citizens here in Mayo, Florida to have a new fire department. We very well deserve it. It gives all the people here a feeling of security."

Mayo Fire Chief David Tyre says in a town that averages only 80 fires a year, there's no need for the county to create its own fire department.

He said, "I feel like we've got ample enough fire protection right here within this area. We have 16 volunteers on the Mayo department and we're operating with city and county vehicles right now."

The county will appoint a five-member board that will run the new department and make the budget.

Billy Rhodes, a Mayo resident, said, "I think they do a great job so far with what we've got."

Lafayette County commissioners did not comment on any rift with the city's fire department.

Commission Chairman Donnie Hamlin says they are concentrating on getting the fire board together.

Chief Tyre added, "I feel like it has to do with politics, a control issue."

Chief Tyre says even though he may lose half his staff to the county... He remains dedicated to serving citizens.

There are no paid fire departments in Lafayette County. Board members and a chief for the new volunteer department will be named within weeks.