Supervisors find inconsistencies in claims made by Derby VFD Board of Directors

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Due to skepticism of some comments made during a recent conversation held between the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors and members of the Derby Whitesand Volunteer Fire Department’s Board of Directors, the county’s administrator asked the county fire marshal to do some fact checking.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said he asked Fire Marshal Jonathan Head to check up on the working status of the Derby Whitesand VFD’s vehicles after Board member Enoch Raine assured the Supervisors that all of the department’s vehicles are in working order during the March 28 meeting.

Head presented his findings to Lumpkin, who shared them with the Board of Supervisors during Monday’s meeting.  During Head’s inspection of the department’s vehicles on April 1, it was discovered that one of the three vehicles in station one appeared to have an internal engine leak leading to coolant being found in the oil, so Head did not attempt to crank that vehicle. Another 2006 Kentworth was determined to be in working order, while a third pump truck cranked, but did not have water in the tank.

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At station two, there were two trucks in the bay, one that did not crank and another that appeared to be in working order. The truck that did not crank at station two was behind a roll up door that also did not work, Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said in total only two vehicles in the department’s fleet were fully operational, when Raine told the Supervisors all five were operational during the March 28 meeting.

Additionally, one of the department’s volunteer firefighters called Lumpkin’s office to dispute a number of things told to the Supervisors during the March meeting, specifically that the fire truck used in the Poplarville Christmas parade did in fact break down, and was not out of gas. The currently unnamed firefighter informed Lumpkin’s office that the truck’s fuel gauge does not work, but had only been driven 100 miles since it was last filled. It appears there is some dissension between the department’s board of directors and the volunteer firefighters that respond to calls, Lumpkin said.

Also, in relation to claims that the firefighters with the department are not allowed to respond to grass fires, a claim Raine denied, the firefighter alleges that the Board of Directors will not allow the fire trucks in that department to leave blacktop, Lumpkin said the firefighter told him.

District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry noted that during the March 28, meeting, Raine appeared to show a lot of distaste for firefighters having to respond to grass fires.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday, also expressed concern that a family member of one of the Board members has the contract to conduct grass cutting duties at the department’s stations. He asked Board attorney Joe Montgomery to check into the legality of that agreement.