Local officials mull Strasburg firefighter tensions

WOODSTOCK — A letter accusing the leadership of the Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department of mismanagement and some of its younger members of misconduct has gotten the attention of local government officials.

Shenandoah County Fire Chief Gary Yew huddled with several other county government leaders Thursday afternoon to talk about a letter written by Dan Rothstein denouncing what Rothstein described as “a clique of kids who have no rules or regulations to follow and run rampant in the fire house, which has caused older members to leave or not come in for calls any more.”

Rothstein is a veteran member of the department who has held several leadership posts. His letter blamed Fire Chief Jeff Wharton for what Rothstein depicted as lax enforcement of rules and regulations and sub-standard training and certification of some department members.

Yew emerged from Thursday’s closed meeting with little comment about the validity, if any, of Rothstein’s criticisms.

Yew said any public comment on the details of Rothstein’s letter would come from Christopher Ritenour, the new president of the fire department. Ritenour was out of town and unavailable for comment.

“President Ritenour has some plans and would like to get something accomplished,” Yew said.

Yew said the fire department had scheduled a meeting for Thursday evening and department representatives are expected to give reports Tuesday at meetings of the Board of Supervisors and Strasburg Town Council.

Yew said he has no direct influence over the internal workings of the Strasburg firehouse, although the county contributes about $30,000 a year, plus money for fuel and insurance, to its operation.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com