GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The North Carolina Fire Marshal’s Office has confirmed with Queen City News that it will perform an audit on the Stanley Fire Department to make sure there are enough firefighters in the town.

Right now, a spokesperson for the State Fire Marshal’s Office said they’ve heard the Stanley Fire Department is down to fewer than 10 members, which if that’s the case, it’s a violation of state law. However, the office has not yet confirmed that information in person.

That’s why they’ll be paying the department a visit soon, in the wake of dozens of firefighters quitting after the town cut the jobs of the top two fire officials earlier this week.

State law requires a minimum of 15 eligible firefighters. If the audit reveals Stanley does not have enough members, the fire department would be placed in non-compliance for six months.

If the issues aren’t fixed then, the department would be on probation, and after one year, it affects the town’s insurance rating.

The Office of the State Fire Marshall released the following statement Friday:

“The Office of the State Fire Marshal is aware and has taken several phone calls and emails on the situation at Stanley. We have heard that the numbers are below 10 members at this point, but we have not verified that information in person.

The department is a single station and requires a minimum of 15 eligible firefighters. (“Eligible Firefighter” means all persons 18 years of age or older who are firefighters as defined by NC law (G.S. 58-86-2).

If it is found that the department is below 15 eligible firefighters, the department would be placed in non-compliance for a 6-month period. If after that time has passed and the issues that were found during our visit are not corrected, the department will go on a 6-month probation. 

If after that time all issues are not corrected properly, then the Insurance rating would be reassigned as a Class 10 rating, which is considered unrecognized.”