GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Stanley Fire Department announced Friday that they will be closing their Facebook page after several members were suddenly let go by the Town of Stanley and others walked off the job.

Those who run the Stanley Fire Department Facebook page said effective at ‘2400 hours,’ Nov. 17, this page will be shut down.

“This page was created as a transparency tool, a marketing tool, and a communications tool between the Town of Stanley, NC Fire Department and the good citizens of Stanley. Our reach is now more than 2,300 followers and nearly as many likes,” the page said.

Organizers of the social media page said it was initially created by a now-resigned member of the department and is associated with that firefighter’s personal account.

“The page has never been under the control or auspices of the Town of Stanley, the Mayor, the Council, or Town Administration. The responsibility of the content was always reviewed by the chiefs and the recruitment/retention coordinator,” the page said. “Because of events of this week in Stanley with regard to the restructuring of public safety by the Town Council, and the termination of the Chief and Deputy Chief, as well as the resignation of all but one part-time firefighter and all but one member of the volunteer firefighting corps, the administrative ownership of this page believes it is in the best interests of the community to close the page.”

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 is a violation of state law.

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.