Firefighters raise funds to protect their rights

Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-16 23:10:13-04

Portsmouth, Va. - After a Portsmouth fire captain was suspended earlier this year, a group of his peers were out showing their support Saturday.

They held a block party to protect their constitutional rights.

It was a family filled day at Barons Pub in Portsmouth.

The International Association of Firefighters Local 539 held a fundraising block party to bring awareness to, what they call, problems with the city’s fire department.

“We want the community to be aware of our issues because if the city’s reducing the number of firefighters in the community, it makes it a unsafe environment,” IAFF Local 539 Spokesperson Nathan Clark said.

Clark says Fire Captain Rusty Quillin was temporarily suspended last year after talking publicly about a firefighter shortage.

People like Billy Wilder support Quillin.

“It was all freedom of speech, anyway,” Wilder explained. “I don’t see anything wrong with what Rusty did at all.”

Clark says their goal is safety and transparency.

“The city doesn’t want to give out a lot of information and for whatever reason this information shouldn’t be hidden from our citizens. They have a right to know what’s going on,” Clark said.

Wilder says he hopes getting these problems out will make a difference.

“I want these vacancies filled. I want us to have competent firefighters that can do the job, so I can feel safe and secure sleeping at night,” Wilder explained.

Quillin is back on the job.

Clark says with the money raised they may take legal action because they want his suspension overturned.