By Kris Allen
The Rushcreek Township trustees have announced that the fire service has returned to the township effective immediately.
Trustee Doug Lyons said that he contacted Logan County Sheriff Randy Dodds last night and advised him that the fire department had an active command staff and asked that the fire department be put back into active status.
Earlier this year, Rushcreek Township Fire Chief Duane Van Buskirk resigned from his post which led to several other members of the fire department resigning their posts as well. The trustees learned that without an active command structure in the fire department, the trustees could incur liability issues.
After talking with Logan County Sheriff Randy Dodds and County Prosecutor Eric Stewart, the trustees decided to suspend fire and EMS services pending a resolution to the matter.
On September 23rd, the trustees called a special meeting to address the staffing issue. The meeting, attended by approximately 50 residents, was held in the Township garage. Representatives from the sheriff’s office assured residents that fire and EMS services would still be dispatched if there was a need in the township. At the end of that meeting, EMS services were brought back online.
At that meeting, it was suggested that trustee Lyons act as a liaison between the trustees and the fire department. Lyons stated that he sat down with Van Buskirk and other former members of the fire department to hear from them directly. Then, this past Monday, the trustees met in Executive Session and discussed what Lyons had been told.
Finally, Wednesday night, at a special meeting, Van Buskirk was appointed fire chief by the trustees. Once he was back in place, he appointed his command staff which was ultimately approved by the trustees. Van Buskirk then notified the members of the fire department of his status as chief. Lyons then contacted the sheriff and formally asked that the fire department be placed back into active status.
Moving forward, Lyons said he will remain as the liaison between the trustees and the fire department. He also expressed gratitude to the other agencies that were available to help the township while this issue was being sorted out.