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Chief out, 7 firefighters quit in Maringouin

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MARINGOUIN - The longtime chief of the Maringouin Fire Department is out of a job tonight, and seven other firefighters quit after finding out he was gone.

New Mayor Demi Vorise made the decision not to reappoint Michael Gaudet as the Fire Chief of the town. Gaudet was the Maringouin Fire Chief for the past 32 years.

"I have no direct reason for not reappointing him," Vorise told WBRZ on the phone. "I wanted to go in a different direction."

Gaudet claims the firing was politically motivated and stems from a vendetta.

"She's mad at me because I wouldn't let her through a roadblock at an accident," Michael Gaudet said. "For her safety, I told her to go around the other side. I've been having trouble since."

Mayor Vorise said her decision had nothing to do with that, and said she has the authority to appoint whomever she wants.

Residents in the Town of Maringouin said with a decrease in people on the department, they are worried about what could happen if there is an emergency.

"If it's less people up here, then there will be a delay," said Stanley Anderson.

"If we ain't go no one to put out a fire, that is a problem, a big problem," said Damion Horton.

Gaudet said his department was made up of 18 volunteers. Seven of them quit within the past 24 hours, including Sam Robinson.

"She got rid of him," Robinson said. "She'll turn her attention to someone else who makes her mad."

After 32 years of being in a job he loved, Gaudet is worried about the town he used to protect.

"The people of this parish, I don't know what they are going to do," Gaudet said. "If they get a fire or EMS call, I don't know who's going to run."

Mayor Vorise said she has contacted the neighboring communities of Livonia and Rosedale. Those towns have offered to help if there is an emergency in Maringouin.

Currently, the position for fire chief is being advertised. Vorise hopes to have a decision made in a few weeks.

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