(Updated) Point of View: Bethsadia firefighter and board member Alan Edwards


BETHSADIA – After the turmoil of the last month within the Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) came to a very public head yet again Thursday night, fire department Board member and newly-appointed Assistant Chief Alan Edwards asked to speak to the Tribune, to share his point of view on the events.

Edwards has been a BVFD firefighter for 18 years, and has served as assistant chief for 12 years in the past.  He left the post three years ago for health reasons, until Chief Buddy Carden asked him to return to the post after the now former Assistant Chief Maurice Reynolds led the mass resignation at the end of November.  He is also Carden’s son-in-law.  Edwards was involved in an altercation with resigned firefighter Cody Bice in December, that led to his arrest for harassment.

Edwards explained what, in his opinion, lies at the heart of the controversy. "There's two people in this fire department that the other ones don't like.  But they've worked with them for three years, and never said a word bad about them. They've come to the training, but all of a sudden, they wanted them gone.  In my opinion, the reason they wanted them gone: one of them is kin to the chief, and I'm his son-in-law; have been for 30 years.  That's the reason I went to jail, because they were talking bad about him.  And I'll do it every day of the week, if it takes it.  I'm protecting my family."

He continued, "They want them two guys gone, because them two guys do have felonies; but them two guys are changing their lives, and everybody deserves a second chance in the chief's opinion.  The one guy they want gone has worked for me for three years, and I've never seen him do nothing (wrong).  He's been helping me for three years, and he doesn't do nothing.  And he shows up to the meetings; he one of the ones that runs calls all the time.  But in my personal opinion, that's the reason they're trying to get Buddy out of here, so they can get rid of them two."

Reynolds, in a December interview, raised concerns about whether or not convicted felons could receive firefighter and EMT certification. 

When asked if their legal status had any effect on their potential certification, Edwards responded, "None whatsoever, unless you're going to do medical.  Now, it will on the medical side.  As far as the 160 (certification) side goes, no effect.  As long as you're willing to volunteer to go and risk your life to go help somebody put out their house fire or grass fire or whatever it may be.  And these guys have got adequate training.  They've not been through the 160 and all that kind of stuff, but they're willing to go through it."

The Tribune has obtained a copy of the “Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission Administrative Code.” You can see it below.

It states the following regarding the issuance of certificates:

(e) Certificates may be issued only to individuals of good moral character and reputation as determined by the Commission, namely:

1. The individual shall not have been convicted of a felony or convicted of a crime involving fire and/or explosion;


2. The individual shall not have been found guilty of a crime of moral turpitude or have engaged in immoral conduct which indicates an unfitness to discharge the duties of such certificate holder, as determined by the Commission.

The BVFD has recently taken on five new firefighters, three of whom have 160 certifications.  With Edwards, that gives the department four certified firefighters in BVFD.  One more just started training, and will bring the total to five when he finishes.  There are still no certified EMTs, though.

Of this lack, Edwards said, "Every one of us that are 160 certified are CPR certified. The only thing we can't do is push oxygen.  We can go and do CPR, and take vitals.  Don't get me wrong; EMTs and first responders, when things happen like that, it makes the families feel better when they show up.  I understand that, I'm not denying that.  It calms them down.  But in our area, as close as we are to town, by the time we get the call, the ambulance is already halfway here.  Most of the time, the ambulance gets there first."

Reynolds also cited safety concerns as a reason for the mass resignation.

Edwards responded, "Safety? There's never been a safety issue over here.  It's Buddy I guess, being old school.  That's their safety issue right there, because he never wears turnout gear, and he never puts an air pack on.  But he never goes in the fire, either.  I mean he's not supposed to; that's why we're here.  Buddy Carden has never, ever in 18 years that I know of, had anyone go to the hospital that got hurt.  When they talk safety, he does not do anything unsafe, whatsoever.  This department ain't never run 'by the book,' but it's always run efficiently."

Edwards expressed confidence that the BVFD is on the right track, and fully capable of meeting the needs of his community.  He was also certain that his criminal case will be resolved without serious ramifications.

Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission Administrative Code by cullmansense on Scribd


Full story on Thursday night’s meeting:





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