LAUREL, MS. - Laurel firefighters offered a public apology to county volunteers Thursday night after Sunday's Mothers Day fire incident.
During a Jones County Volunteer Fire Department (JCVFD) meeting at the Jones County Emergency Operations Center, LFD made amends for not immediately responding to assist on a duplex fire on Redbud Drive.
Laurel Fire Chief James Brown said in an exclusive FOX 23 interview his firefighters were on a lunch detail.
“What happened is, that we have, a truck that was out onto lunch at that particular time" said Chief Brown. He continued, "Which is the cover truck that would cover in place of Engine 2. Engine 5 was the truck that was out. Engine 2 was covering for Engine 5 at that particular time."
"So in that particular evening with what was happening at that time, the Battalion Chief who was on call at that time, delayed in sending the truck due to the cover truck that was out during that particular time, lunch detail" Chief Brown said.
A representative from the International Firefighters Union told FOX 23 that there is no such thing as a 'lunch detail'.
Danny Todd of Memphis said firemen always carry radios with them while at lunch in case of a fire call.
Todd said this was a decision made by a member of the administration within the fire department.
City firefighters told volunteers it should not have happened and they will continue to abide by their mutual agreement.
"The comment that was made on the news on May 15, 2017, at no time are we excused for making an emergency call, just because we are out eating lunch" said Edwin Blue Vice President with 207 Laurel Fire Department Association.
Blue said, "The decision that was made to not make a call, it comes from a higher authority from the guys on the truck."
"We want to express our apologies and tell you we're are sorry that it happened, and we are going to work with it and it will not ever happen again" Blue said.
County volunteers said they did not need an apology. "However it was graciously accepted and both fire agencies have agreed to learn from this experience" said JCVFD.
Jones County Fire Council Gordon Pitts said, "We’re all a family of firefighters, we may be from Laurel, we may be from Jones County and in different areas in the county."
Pitts continued, "But we are all brothers, and we are going to work together and the people for Jones county, there are no boundaries when it comes to us try to serve."
"And do what we are trying to do for the people of Jones county" added Pitts.
Mayor Johnny Magee told FOX 23 the city is looking into the matter and the incident will not happen again under his leadership.