Tippecanoe Township Officials “Taking Steps” To Resolve Rift

Members of the North Webster Tippecanoe Volunteer Fire Department and the township trustee plan to take several steps to overcome increasing friction that culminated last week when more than a dozen volunteer fire and EMS workers dropped off their gear.

That’s the latest takeaway as the township deals with a personnel crisis that began last week.

Last Thursday’s decision by half of the fire and EMS personnel to walk off the job, led to an immediate request for surrounding fire departments to be on standby in case of a fire or medical emergency arose in Tippecanoe Township.

That status continued until mid-morning Monday even though a handful of personnel had not returned as of Monday afternoon.

On Monday afternoon, Chris Francis, a battalion chief with the fire department who also sits on the township advisory board, issued a statement on behalf of the fire department that stressed their commitment to the community while also thanking surrounding fire department for their cooperation.

Departments that provided standby support included Pierceton, Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory, Plain Township, Milford, Turkey Creek Fire Territory as well as North Webster’s Police Department and the sheriff’s departments of Kosciusko and Noble counties.

The department statement also tried to reassure residents.

“First and foremost, we would like to ensure the residents and guests of Tippecanoe Township that your safety has and always will be our unconditional concern,” the release said.

Francis pointed out that while the department was without a full staff, they were never “shut down.”

“We all know that if something major happened, these guys would have been there,” Francis said.

Francis did not divulge what steps will be taken to improve conditions between the fire department and Township Trustee Steve Ward.

Ward declined to comment.

No other public meetings are planned until Sept. 13 when the advisory board holds its next regular meeting.