Recently, Stan Frank, who had served as Poland Fire Territory Fire Chief for six years, resigned from the post.
Frank left the position in protest after the Poland Fire Protection Territory Board re-instated a former firefighter who had been removed for conduct unbecoming.
Frank, who had been with the department for 10 years total, said he had been informed by the territory board the person would not be brought back. In February, during a board meeting, it was requested the former firefighter be removed from the organization.
"(The firefighter) was asked to resign, and did," Frank said.
However, Frank said the person was re-instated this month against the wishes of the remaining firefighters.
As a result, 22 other firefighters resigned from their positions.
"I did not fathom that everyone would follow me," Frank said.
Frank told The Brazil Times the firefighters gathered with members of the community Sunday in a sign of solidarity hoping to find resolution from the situation.
"The way it's looking, I don't look for it to be resolved," Frank said. "We were hoping that something would come about. You're giving up 22 well-trained firefighters for one. You've got to weigh the differences."
The Poland Fire Territory Volunteer Fire Department covers Cass Township in Clay County and Jackson Township in Owen County. Frank said the department covers roughly 36-square miles.
According to the department's website, the organization was established in 1959. In 2006, the fire department merged with Jackson Township in Owen County to form the Poland Fire Territory.
Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband said he's not surprised by the firefighter's actions.
"I know Stan personally," Husband said. "I know the situation they're in. You hate to see it come to this type of action."
Husband said the issue is now one of trust.
"From a leader standpoint, they did not believe in the chief that they put into office," Husband said.
In a press release sent out by volunteer firefighters, the department is now "appealing to the public for their assistance."
"This is a sad situation for the firefighters and for the community," the release stated. "The firefighters are volunteers who sacrifice their time and efforts, often at the expense of their own families and money.
"The firefighters will return if the former member that the territory put back into the director's position is removed permanently. If not, there will be no firefighters left."
Husband said the situation could end badly and the possibility of the fire territory being dissolved is possible.
"I don't think it will (end) the way they want it," Husband said. "But I think there will be something that will happen. It's a bad deal for the people in the area."
Since the crisis began, Frank said he has received lots of support from the community.
"I've had multiple calls," he said. "People are in support. They are behind all of us."