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New Maringouin fire chief quits 3 months into job

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MARINGOUIN - The Town of Maringouin is once again looking for a fire chief. It comes after the brand new chief quit with just three months on the job.

The mayor said Keith Prestenback cited work and family reasons for his departure, and that's not all.

"He did note that the environment wasn't as conducive as he would have liked it to be," Mayor Demi Vorise said. "The previous administration had members who wanted to go in a different direction and may have added to his decision to resign."

All of this stems from a shakeup in the fire department which began in January. Mayor Demi Vorise chose not to reappoint long-time Fire Chief Michael Gaudet back to the position. Gaudet served as the chief for 32 years. In March, Prestenback was appointed to the position, and since that time the mayor said he has encountered difficulties.

We reached out to the old chief who said people loyal to him had issues with the new chief.

"The chief wasn't making himself available," Michael Gaudet said.

But, that's not the case at all according to Vorise. She said the Prestenback was doing an excellent job.

"There were a few that I know personally that have personal vendettas and they were working hard to make his job difficult," Vorise said. "It's a sad situation."

We reached out to Prestenback by phone, but he declined to provide WBRZ with a statement or to appear on camera for an interview.

Residents like Lillie Blakeley are concerned about the shakeup.

"They need to get along," Blakeley said.

Vorise said the process is underway to fill the position. She expects to make a decision in a month. Vorise doesn't expect residents to have any problems if there's a fire, since the town has an agreement with neighboring communities to assist them if there's a fire.


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