The entire Hampton Volunteer Fire Department threatened to quit last night when the town’s city council considered an ordinance that would have banned drinking in the fire hall. The ordinance would have prohibited alcohol consumption on any city property, except for parks. Fireman Scott Strother told the Council he and other fire fighters felt they were being accused of being rowdy drunks.Strother says a couple of fire fighters retired, including the chief of the department, and if the Council passed the resolution, all the rest of the department would retire, too. Hampton fire fighters host dances at the fire station and serve beer, and sometimes toss back a few after a fire call. Hampton City Attorney Mike Cross says the city’s in a bind because it could be liable if an on-duty fire fighter who’s intoxicated gets in an accident. Cross says the city may loose its insurance because alcohol is allowed in public buildings controlled by the city. Nickie Ferris, the mother of a fire fighter, spoke out at last night’s meeting. Ferris asked the Council to table the ordinance and try to come to some agreement with fire fighters. She said Hampton needs its volunteer fire fighters not only for fires, but for the Jaws of Life and E-M-T services. The City Council agreed to table the issue, talk to fire fighters and try to come up with a resolution.
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