ASHE COUNTY-A lapse in insurance coverage by the Todd Volunteer Fire Department could affect fire protection services in the community.
Ashe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patty Gambill told the Jefferson Post Thursday afternoon that in light of the lapse, Creston, Fleetwood, Deep Gap and Meat Camp fire departments are on standby and could provide fire protection services to the greater Todd community until the situation is resolved.
Gambill said Todd VFD leadership, upon learning of the lapse in insurance, asked that the four other departments be placed on standby.
Managers from both Ashe and Watauga counties, in conjunction with emergency management coordinators, are planning a sit-down in the near future to further discuss the fire department’s situation, said Gambill.
The unravelling of the fire department’s insurance coverage isn’t the first time finances have threatened the base’s operations. Last year, the department held a sit-down with Yadkin Valley Bank executives in a successful attempt to stave off foreclosure proceedings. The department’s future came into question in May 2016 after Yadkin Bank filed a civil suit against the department. The bank’s action was an attempt to collect on loans – that exceed $400,000 – it said Todd Volunteer Fire & Rescue defaulted on.
A review of the agreed-upon procedures imposed by Watauga County indicate the fire department had financial issues pertaining to the absence of dual signatures on checks and unreconciled bank accounts, as well as unaccounted for revenues and expenses.
The Jefferson Post is currently awaiting comment on these matters from Todd Fire Chief Chris Welch.