VIDEO: Marion County Fire Chief James Banta is promising to make changes to better respond to mental health struggles in the department after two firefighters died in less than a month.
The chief released a video message to the department and residents of Marion County following the deaths of MCFR firefighter paramedics Allen Singleton and Tripp Wooten. Singleton died on Jan. 28 and Wooten died on Jan. 9. Both left behind wives and children. In the video, Banta acknowledges the concerns people in the department and the community have raised regarding how low pay and mandatory overtime impacts the mental health of firefighters.
“If the answer was as simple as eliminating mandatory overtime, I would shut trucks down immediately, but I can tell you it goes way deeper than that,” Banta said.