Blackman’s Crossroads FD Could Be Forced To Close, According To Board Of Directors

County Says Department Is Not Meeting Minimum Response And Training Requirements; Fire Department Board Says That’s In The Past

County Commissioner Wants Four Oaks Fire Department To Take Over Blackman’s Fire District On July 1

Johnston County Report Photo

FOUR OAKS – A rural Johnston County fire department could soon cease to exist, according to their Board of Directors. Members of the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department Board say the County of Johnston does not want to renew their contract, up for renewal June 30, 2023. The volunteers have requested more time to make improvements and stay, but board members contend, the County isn’t willing to work with them.

Like many small, rural departments, the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department, located on Highway 96 about six miles south of Four Oaks, has struggled to maintain volunteers. It has been especially tough to find volunteers to respond to weekday calls, when many of them are at work. They currently have approximately 24 members.

Benton Johnson, Chairman of the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Board of Directors, appeared February 6 before County Commissioners asking for more time. “Our department was built by our community and is deep-rooted in our culture.”

A photo of the original Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Station constructed in 1958 on donated land and a $2,000 loan. Contributed photo

The department was formed in 1958 after Alfred and Eva Massengill donated the land. Johnston County loaned the department $1,000 and Four Oaks Bank another $1,000 to build a block building for a fire truck, a used truck purchased from the Vander Fire Department near Fayetteville. Aaron Wood was named the first fire chief that same year.

Johnston County Report Photo

Mr. Johnson said meetings began in October 2020 with Johnston County Emergency Services Director Kevin Hubbard for suggestions on how to improve the volunteer department. Additional meetings were held in 2021 and 2022. In September 2022, Johnson said the fire department thought they were headed in the right direction, as response times were improving and volunteers were getting in all their training hours. They also began reaching out to their neighbors and friends in the rural community asking them to volunteer as a firefighter. Johnson said it was important for county officials to realize “…change doesn’t happen overnight…” but positive steps were being made.

Mr. Johnson told commissioners that on January 17, 2023, he met with Director Hubbard and County Fire Marshal Ryan Parker. “(Mr. Hubbard) stated he was there to pull our contract and transfer to the Four Oaks Fire Department. After a much-heated debate with the board (of directors), we came to an agreement to keep the contract until June (2023).”

In a follow up meeting on January 26, 2023, Johnson said he was told the contract would not be renewed on June 30, 2023.

Johnston County Report Photo

I am asking for our community to be given a chance
“After speaking with several commissioners and county employees I am here asking for our community to be given a chance. I am asking for more time from commissioners to make sure we can survive and be a sustainable volunteer fire department,” Mr. Johnson said Feb. 6.

Kevin Massengill a retired Johnston County deputy, and a member of the fire department board of directors also addressed county commissioners.

“I have seen a positive progress in the last four months,” said Massengill. “It has been really encouraging on my part to see the volunteers coming together to get a renewed interest…. Volunteers nationwide are really hard to come across. These guys are turning it around, they’re getting their (training) hours and we’re meeting contract now with the minimum standards with volunteers. And I foresee us getting more on (the department), and getting those trained. It does take time to get them trained. We have not had any no-response calls since we really started to buckle down and get new members. Our response times have been really good. I think the records will show that.” He described to Johnston County Report the plight of the department to be like David going against Goliath.

Johnston County Report Photo

A total of 396 signatures of community members was presented to commissioners on Feb. 6, urging the County to allow the fire department to remain in service. The signatures were gathered in 48 hours from six churches and a community store, as many people in the small community haven’t heard of the potential takeover, according to Mr. Massengill.

Volunteers are declining across the country
Hubbard, the Director of Johnston County Emergency Services, said in June 2021 Blackman’s Crossroads fire officials wanted to increase their fire tax rate from 8 to 13 cents so they could hire part-time personnel. Hubbard said their volunteer base had declined and they had trouble getting enough members to run calls Monday through Friday from 8 to 5.

Hubbard said the department had two calls in 2021 that were non-response calls, meaning the fire department was dispatched to a call in their district but no one from Blackman’s Crossroads responded. A fire truck from a neighboring department had to respond.

As a result, the County required in June 2021, a neighboring fire department be automatically dispatched as mutual aid to all calls in the Blackman’s Crossroads fire district. The mutual aid comes from Benson, Four Oaks, Meadow and Strickland’s Crossroads Fire.

Undated photo of the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department. Contributed photo

Hubbard said the County has been trying to work with the Blackman’s fire personnel to get the level of service needed to serve their community. A meeting will be held March 6th before Johnston County Commissioners to discuss the fate of the department.

“Volunteers are declining across the country. Departments are struggling. They have to go train and answer calls. There are certain things they have to do to remain a rated fire department by state standards,” Hubbard told The Johnston County Report.

Hubbard would not say if he wants the contract pulled from Blackman’s Crossroads and reassigned to a surrounding fire department. He said that decision rests solely with Johnston County Commissioners.

County Commissioner Supports Transition
Johnston County Commissioner Tony Braswell said he met with Blackman’s Crossroads fire leaders several times and wants to see the contract end on June 30 and the Four Oaks Fire Department take over fire protection in the community.

Lettering on the side of a modern fire truck in a bay at Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department. Johnston County Report Photo

“I think we would all agree that public safety is one of the most important functions of local governments. Johnston County contracts with fire departments to provide fire related services. Any time there are concerns or challenges, the county has a responsibility to discuss those concerns. For the past 19 months the Johnston County emergency services team has worked closely with Blackman’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department in an effort to address emergency response for fire protection services in the district.”

“As fire commissioner, I support the recommendation from Johnston County Emergency Services to transition the fire protection services contract for the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Service District to Four Oaks Fire Department. It is my opinion this would be in the best interest of the citizens in the district. I would commit to working closely with all parties to assist with a smooth transition of fire services in the district while respecting the legacy of Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department. I want to thank the board of directors of Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department and staff,” Commissioner Braswell said in a statement to The Johnston County Report.

Response Times
A public records request shows Blackman’s Crossroads FD had a faster response time to calls in 2022 than two of their neighboring departments, whose contracts are being renewed.

Blackman’s Crossroads FD had an average response time from page out to arriving on the scene of 9 minutes and 14 seconds. Meadow FD had a 9:32 response time and Strickland’s Crossroads FD 10:37. Benson FD had a 6 minute 28 second response time and Four Oaks FD 6 minutes 30 seconds.

Johnston County Report Photo

A county official claims some of the fire calls answered in 2022 by Blackman’s Crossroads FD were with volunteer firefighters who didn’t have all their required training. They said that created a liability to the department, county, and the community. We could not verify whether or not some of the firefighters on emergency calls lacked proper training. The same official said mutual aid departments arrived on the scene, many times, faster than Blackman’s Crossroads FD. We requested call data to verify the information but did not receive it prior to publication.

A “Merger” Or “Forced” Closure?
County officials we spoke with stressed to us this is being looked at as a merger, but Blackman’s Crossroads Fire said it’s not. They claim they are being forced to cease operations. That, they say, is not the definition of a merger.

According to Massengill, if the department doesn’t have a contract they can’t operate. And if that happens, it remains uncertain what will happen to the fire station and fire trucks owned by the department. Funds from county fire taxes, community food plate sales, turkey shoots, and other community fundraisers paid for the assets.

Massengill said some members have had a tough time bouncing back from the November 2017 arrest of their former fire chief Kenan Kearney who was charged and later convicted of embezzling over $14,000 from the department. But that is now in the rear-view mirror, and he believes the department and its volunteers are stronger now than ever before. They just need a little more time.

The Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department still maintains a 1966 fire engine, although it has been replaced with new modern fire trucks. Johnston County Report Phpto

March 6 County Commission Meeting
Members from the department plan to hold community meetings to let Blackman’s Crossroads residents know their fire department may soon be out of service. They also plan to attend the March 6 county commission meeting.

If the Four Oaks Fire Department takes over operations in the Blackman’s Crossroads community, it remains unclear where the Four Oaks fire trucks would be located, or if they would use the existing Blackman’s fire station.

Four Oaks Fire Chief Responds
Four Oaks Fire Chief Barry Stanley said in June 2021, all fire departments surrounding Blackman’s Crossroads agreed to provide mutual aid and run calls with them. And last year, Chief Stanley offered to help them with new members.

“Sometime, I would say 9 months ago, we offered to have five of our members join their fire department to help with the situation. Sometime in the last 3 to 6 months, (Emergency Services Director) Kevin (Hubbard) met with all four mutual aid departments – Strickland’s Crossroads, Meadow, Benson and Four Oaks – mainly to make sure we were good with running the mutual aid to help them out. At the same point, he talked about the options they had, and one of those options was to split the (Blackman’s) district up between the four fire departments. It won’t the best option because it would leave areas over 5 miles (from a fire station), which was not a good option. It would also cause insurance premiums to go up and longer response times. (Director Hubbard) wanted to know if we could put a plan together to show we can help them,” Chief Stanley said.

“It’s not us wanting to go down there and take them over. We’re willing to help. We have 84 or 85 members. So staff and resource-wise, we are capable of helping them. Right now we would have paid staff during the day (at Blackman’s Crossroads). We would have two guys during the day and backfill during the night with volunteers, and the staff coming out of town,” Chief Stanley said.

Stanley said there has never been a plan to run Blackman’s Crossroads out of business or out of their fire station. “Me and Four Oaks, we don’t have anything to do with that. We’re doing what we’re asked to do by the County. If the County gives them more time, we’re good with that, and continue to provide (mutual aid) coverage to citizens in that area. I understand… I realize that’s what you hear on the streets, but that’s not the truth. We’re just trying to help. Maybe there is some disagreement on how to do that. I don’t know. We were asked by the County to help. That’s all we want to do, is to help.”

We reached out to Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Chief Russ McLamb but were unable to reach him prior to publication of this story.

This is not the first time Johnston County Commissioners have taken over an emergency service agency who wanted to remain in operation. In July 2021, Johnston County Commissioners forced Four Oaks Rescue and 50-210 EMS to close when they declined to renew their contract. The two EMS agencies, who operated with a mix of volunteers and paid staff, were taken over by Johnston County EMS.

(Note: Last week, we made a Public Records Request with Johnston County Government seeking the number of non-response calls the Blackman’s Crossroads FD had in 2022, plus similar non-response call information from other fire departments across Johnston County. We were told that information was not readily available, and such a request could take months to process. We are awaiting that information and other statistical data.)

28 COMMENTS

  1. So here they are together in this article. The 3 Amigos, Barry, Tony and Kevin. Barry has always wanted Blackman’s and tried similar stunts with Elevation and 50-210 fire. Barry got Tony on board with the takeover and used Kevin with his position to pull the trigger. What Barry did not say is that of the 85 members they have, approx. 30 are cadets and cannot fight fires. I also bet that the others don’t have all their training hours either. These three have stirred it, now the rest of the commissioners will have mud on them too. How is Tony the fire commissioner when Patrick Harris is more suited for that position anyway? I don’t think their intentions were to ever help, but to drag it out in hopes Blackman’s would go down easy.

    Looks like they have fought back and rallied and called everything out to the court of public opinion. This is shady dealings and dirty politics. The sad part is that the citizens elected these folks to their positions. IF Blackman’s has the members and the training to keep on, then LEAVE THEM ALONE! If they can’t they already know their fate.

    With all of this coming to light, maybe a state auditor needs to visit the town of Four Oaks and see if things there are on the level. Tony wants to give it all to Four Oaks, can they even handle that? Do they have enough members? How many other departments have training issues and missed calls that are not being discussed? Seems like this little department is being bullied. Stand strong Blackman’s, the citizens eyes are open now and we see through the smoke and mirrors and know what is happening!

    • Unless, you know the facts and are able to prove this. Then we shouldn’t be spreading rumors that can not be provided about anyone. All we know is that if they are in trouble and the need to be evaluated something needed to be done. If they can not provide the best service then it’s time to find a replacement for our families protection.

      Citizens ultimately don’t have a say in these procedures as they can only be heard. Ultimately, if the county does not want to renew their contract well unfortunately they can’t operate in the county.

      • As a member of the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire Department I can unfortunately assure you that the things that have been discussed are indeed true and not just dirty rumors being spread. I have some great friends on Four Oaks fire department. And this is no way any disrespect to them. Unfortunately the 3 amigos have been at work for some time trying to take over this department. This is nothing but dirty politics, and a few people trying to gain power and more control. I recently spoke with a former firefighter who is now retired and he said this was going on way back when he was on the department. This is nothing new, the leader of this department has also tried this with two more departments in Johnston County. What has been done here is absolutely wrong. The members of this community and this department are not going to just roll over and let someone else try to take over!!

  2. I am sicken at the very thought of my vote over the years for the miserable Tony”WRAL”Braswell! Folks when Johnston County flipped from Democrat to Republican in the 1980’s the likes of Tony”WRAL”Braswell, and Ma Andrews and Family $180-K-Carroll, Mike”Man of God”Wooten and most importantly just elected Terry”Judas”Tippett had to pretend to be a pastor when they were truly maybe a sinner? Elections come and they go with the fakes that are exposed?

    https://www.wral.com/johnston-commissioner-slams-decision-to-tie-school-funding-to-critical-race-theory-ban/19912992/

  3. I have lived in the Blackman’s Crossroads community for 50 plus years and I am not a member of the fire department. I tried many years ago and quickly realized it was not my calling. I truly appreciate all that have served and are currently serving in all departments. I have never been worried about service from our fire department because they are my neighbors and we help each other in the good times and the bad. That’s what neighbors do!
    Neighboring fire departments do the same for each other. Firefights are willing to run into harms way to help someone. This is as unselfish as it gets!
    What happens when a firefighter runs into the fire and becomes trapped or injured? He calls Mayday as a last resort because they know their brothers and sisters will enter into the peril to help them. Blackman’s Crossroads is not and has not called MAYDAY. Help those willing to go in, don’t take advantage of a bad situation. That would be the definition of selfishness and greed and is the opposite of what firemen and neighbors do.
    Don’t point out the speck in my eye until you get the beam from your eye. I recommend you look around. Is this the most pressing issue or is this a self-serving endeavor
    directed by a few with something to gain?
    If I stumble, don’t push me down, please help me if you can! I’d do it for you!

    • Outraged, the department has been helped and supported by neighboring departments. The heart and soul of the true red line community has been there all the way. But sometimes the wolf comes disguised as a sheep. I encourage you as a citizen of that community to engage with the board, gather all the information you can. I think you will find reaching out to the community is the MAYDAY call you are looking for by that department.

  4. Let the county take over all fire services in the county just like they did EMS. And pay staff to be on duty 24-7. Plus buy Billions in fire equipment. They want it so bad!

    • I was on the Four Oaks Rescue Squad for 15 years. I can attest to the fact that Johnston County taking over in Four Oaks was a detriment to quality care. Last month I stood in my neighbor’s yard while I watched the so called “county employee” tell my friend they didn’t want to take her. She told Mrs. Deborah they needed to stay in town incase they got a call where someone else was sicker. And if they took her it would mean they were out of town too long and would have to wait with her in the hall at the hospital. I looked at her like she had lost her mind!
      She got a lesson on how a “rescue worker” should treat their patient. We never turned down anyone, even if it was a little old man who needed his hand held because he was scared. THAT MY FRIENDS IS SMALL TOWN DEDICATION AND COMPASSION. Not some girl who wants to go back to the station and put her feet up and look at her phone. Want to know her name? I will gladly tell you!

  5. Embezzlement. Lack of volunteers. Incomplete training. I appreciate that they’re trying to fix things, but maybe it is time to close shop. How many more years will it take to fix things?

    • Spot on, relying on mutual aid to run calls, getting beat in their own district by mutual aid departments. They had 2 years to fix it and it’s not. Let someone take over that can run calls. It’s about public safety not this HS Drama people are starting. Let’s see actual Enroute times not arriving on scene times. That’s irrelevant since districts are different size.

      • Do your job, it is my understanding they asked for mutual to be turned off and were told no Also listen to your radio, mutual aid is cancelled often times, even though one still shows up after they are told to cancel. Blackman’s does not rely on the mutual aid. The drama was started when the hostile underhanded takeover was started. This is not new with Four Oaks Leadership. Just ask Elevation and 50-210 Fire Dept. I wish I could believe it was about public safety on your end, but really deep down it’s about Power, Politics and Money. Do Your Job and get some knowledge about things before making such statements.

    • Tell The Truth, I do not live in the area where this fire department is, but I am no stranger to the Fire Service. I know many of these people there and they are near and dear to me. Yes, they had a chief that messed up, that’s in the past. They have the minimum number of members required with the training hours and they are adding more members. Yes, those new members will need training as well. Cancer is not treated and cured in one day either. Let me try to explain this in a way most people in JOCO will understand.
      A HOA has a set of guidelines that members of that community must go by. There is a person in that community that has a yard that gets out of control and the grass is tall and the weeds are high. The HOA advises the person of what needs to be done to correct their situation and be back in good standing and allowed to continue to live in the community. There is a neighbor however that wants that person gone so they can acquire their property and this neighbor does whatever it takes behind the scenes through dirty politics and misinformation to make it happen.

      The community member with the help of other neighbors gets his yard right and up to standard. When he proudly reports this to the HOA he is told no, you still have to move because the last 5 times you mowed your yard you used fuel that was not approved by us in your lawn equipment. The community member had no idea at all there was an approved fuel that had to be used.

      That is what they are dealing with here, but on a much larger scale and smells worse than a hog lagoon in July with 100% humidity..

      • @Leonidas: Your HOA example is interesting…. everyone that buys a home in an HOA community knows *exactly* what the rules are. If they choose not to follow them, then they get what they deserve. This “they had no idea what the rules are” is a cop-out. All HOA rules are formally included the CCRs. It is up to *YOU* to read and understand them. Likewise, the Blackman’s Crossroads FD knows *exactly* what their accreditation requirements are. They also know *exactly* the terms of their contract with the county. This has been an issue for more than 2 years, and it seems to me, they spent that time ignoring things and only now, when they’re forced to face the repercussions, are they trying to change — but it’s too late. As for hog farms… welcome to NC. The state legislature and DEQ have a long history of defending hog farms and lagoons — you should pick a different example..

        • @Tell the truth, my dear soul I am sorry I mislead you into thinking I oppose hog farms. I do not, to tell the truth I own a farm and raise many hogs there. So to the contrary, I support hog farming. But the lagoons still stink and so does the politics involved in this mess.

  6. I was in a bad accident where I almost lost my life and had to be airlifted to raleigh. I was closer to four oaks but in between four oaks and Blackman crossroads. Blackman made it to me and helped save my life. Four oaks pulled up after the hot route had landed and I was being loaded up. You will be dead before four oaks could get to you.

  7. I think it might be time for a different prospective on this. I myself am on the fire department this article is about and have been for many, many years . To Leonidas people like you are what make the volunteer service so worth while. Thank you for all your support and recognizing the hard work we all do. All this crap about “ tell the truth” “and do your job”. That is exactly what it is crap. First of al you never, ever bash a volunteer, I don’t care what department he or she is on. Be it fire, or ems. The heart of a volunteer is bigger than any on this earth. A man or woman willing to get up during the night to risk their life to save yours is amazing. Myself and the members of this department have never, ever quit trying and working. And we certainly haven’t ignored anything. You all need to get all the information before talking. There has been some issues within our department but they have all been resolved and we have added several more members lately. There most certainly has been a wolf in sheep’s clothing and it is all coming to light. This is a case of backstabbing and dirty politics at its best. How about all you wanting to bash a volunteer try joining your local department and put your energy to good use in that matter instead of using your energy to run your mouths about something you know absolutely nothing about!!👍🏻🚑🚒

  8. I believe ALL sides involved should sit at the same table and discuss All options. It sounds like the county may have may be worried about liability and I can understand that. It also sounds like the small fire department has had problems in the past with leadership and someone that broke their trust and sometimes it’s hard to get back on your feet. Then Covid hit on top of that. Combine all those factors with volunteers, low pay for part time employees, and some moral issues, I’m surprised any mostly volunteer organization can make it these days.

    I do not comment unless I do some digging and have an informed response. I saw where the former chief plead guilty to numerous felonies and had to pay back restitution and is still on probation. I’m not sure exactly what was stolen or embezzled or what not. I do consider this a non issue in this particular case unless he would be back working on the same equipment at the same place that he was accused. That stinks bad if this would be the case. Everyone deserves a second chance and if he deserves one, I truly hope he gets that if he has apologized and took responsibility for his actions.

    Talking about second chances, if the volunteer department has, as they have said, got the members with their required training current at or above minimum standards and they have not failed to respond then why are they not afforded the same opportunity for a second chance as mentioned above. It looks like they have put a lot of effort in getting that done. I see where they have stayed for the last few months they have been adding help and improving.

    I don’t know anything about fighting fires and such and I know it’s a lot of training and time away from families and such and they ALL deserve support and a big thank you.

    If for some reason, this is purely political where another agency head or commissioner or director or such just wants a take over for any kind of gain of any kind, even if just because they can, this is totally wrong and STINKS ! But what do I know. I’m just a keyboard warrior outside looking in but I believe even a blind owl can see what’s truly going on.

    • Einherjar, very nice response and you just totally summed up the situation. The last paragraph is where the rubber meets the road. Four Oaks Fire has outstanding members, many that do not agree with what is happening. Their leadership is the catalyst for the take over. As others have mentioned if you don’t believe it just ask Elevation Fire and 50-210 Fire, two other neighboring departments that have dealt with same the leadership on similar issues. This time the leadership was able to align themselves with a county commissioner and the director of emergency services.

      There is another department in our area that faced similar hardships with training and personnel. They were in trouble too but were allowed to chance to bounce back. They have made great strides but will readily admit they are still on the mend several years later. This department has been Blackman’s strongest ally through this whole ordeal. I urge you to continue to dig for truth, especially if you are in the town because this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  9. If the eyes were put on other departments like they are on BXFD, a lot of others would face the same fate. This is bullying. Let’s not forget the politics here. Barry, Chad, Linwood, Tony, all the cronies are in the middle of this and have always tried to push Four Oaks on others even though FOFD is well known to have lots of medical calls at night where only junior members show up who are not certified. How many of those 85 are certified and can fight fire? You’re not telling that side. Four Oaks taxpayers, should you be spending your tax dollars for someone to “respond from town” as Barry said they would leaving you with less protection?

    • Another fine point! Buford you are correct! This is a witch hunt built on corruption, power and non-ethical behavior. I can’t speak to all the names you mentioned, but the 3 amigos Barry, Tony and Kevin Hubbard I can. I have seen the night time calls you talk about first hand. One medically certified member and 4-5 cadets on a call, not sure its a bad thing, but definitely the pot calling the kettle black from their side. Also no one has enquired as to why FOFD runs most of their calls from Lassiter Road. Very few come out of the town station anymore.

      It is a huge mess, for the majority of the fire fighters this is a very uncomfortable situation. Many of the FF that are members of these stations are friends and family members. I think the three that orchestrated this disaster should be held accountable and removed out of the way. Then let the dedicated red line community come together as a brotherhood and heal together while providing the services we are all so passionate about.

  10. This is not much more than back stabbing and back door dirty politics by four oaks f d and the town commissioners. And the one person is right, if you don’t believe it, ask elevation f d and 50-210 f d. But, for some idiotic reason, johnston county keeps voting these very dirty politicians in.

  11. They have been rumored that private meetings have been held with Mr. Braswell and others, with him already made his mind up with what should happen with the department they must be some truth to the rummers. Being a commissioner for the county he should have an open mind and see and hear what the citizens, in the Blackman’s Crossroads Fire district, would like to happen before speaking about an issue that will be coming before the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. I believe that there are bigger plans going on and that this is just the first step for the Town of Four Oaks. That is why other plans that would work for the department, were told “NO” they can not do them, due to the fact that there have been people working on this “takeover” for a while now. They are some that are trying to say it’s a merger between the two departments, the Definition of a merger is a business deal where two existing, independent companies combine to form a new, singular legal entity. Mergers are voluntary. This is NOT a merger, it is a “TAKE OVER” being one is not volunteering to merge with the other. The citizens of this end of the county need to “WAKE UP” and speak out before it’s too late. I pray it’s not.

    In case any of our other commissioners read this please remember to keep an open mind while discussing this issue and listen to all the individuals involved and hopefully you will be able to get through what has become a muddy mess.

    • Yes, you are correct. There were secret meetings long ago at the convenient store that is leased by Braswell on 301. The plans were made and hashed out there on how to orchestrate the takeover of Four Oaks with an assistant chief by the name of Jeremy to take over leadership there. After the plans were developed the involved the emergency management director into the mix. The three amigos, Barry, Tony and Kevin saw that Blackman’s was making a come back. They had the right number of members, training hours were coming up and many new members joining their ranks as the MAYDAY call issued by the department was heard through out the community. The 3 amigos then started ramping up efforts to speed up this process. Blackmans called a meeting with Kevin Hubbard to turn off automatic mutual aid and stand on their own. His reply “NO” and was on record saying as a matter of fact I am here to pull your contract. Also in this same exchange a question was asked as to what other departments were having issues like this. Huibbard’s response was he hasnt been looking at other departments, only Blackman’s.
      There were also meetings called with neighboring department chiefs about this situation. When they met to talk about Blackman’s there was no Blackman’s representation there because they were not invited to the secret meeting organized by the 3 amigos. Thankfully some of the chiefs there stood up and left and stated there was nothing to discuss about Blackma’s without Blackman’s being present.
      A good gesture to making this right would be the prompt termination of the leadership of Johnston County Emergency Management, a dismissal of Tony Braswell and For the members and board of FOFD to find themselves a chief that is honest, transparent and ethical.

      There is another rumor floating around the area also: This chief is not going to stop until he has control over the fire service in the entire 27524 zip code.

  12. Speaking of embezzlement, how much of that money has been paid back?? Is the one who embezzled the money associated with Four Oaks FD? Someone wrote that most calls are answered out of Lassiter Rd location. That fire station EMS is over 20 miles from my house. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. The county should be supporting and encouraging local fire departments. New houses are popping up all the time near BXFD. Is the county going to continue ignoring the need for more schools? Do they think about the 1200 children at the FOES which is beyond overcrowded? Real leaders bring people together. Why are they spending time on tearing something down – their job is to encourage and work with all people in the county – and that means the southern part. It seems they’ve forgotten they’re supposed to represent our part of the county.

  13. From my understanding the guy over at the four oaks department use to be on the blackman’s department and took a bunch of money ? Now he is with four oaks and has a chance of taking the whole fire department. The people that donated the land should have a say so about the land. It was given to that community for a blackmans crossroad station not four oaks. I say everyone needs to show up to the next meeting

  14. Stupid politics you have a few things a little mixed up. The Fire Chief at Four Oaks is not the person that stole from Blackman’s. He did hire the person that stole the money to work on the Four Oaks Trucks. I agree with you about the land. I am hearing that the next meeting will have a lot of Blackman’s supporters present and I encourage everyone that is able to attend this meeting to do so.

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