The Browning Volunteer Fire Department was temporarily out of service this week, according to a now-deleted Facebook post by Fire Chief Lyle Rutherford.
Glacier County Commissioner Michael DesRosier said the department was told in September 2017 that the county would continue covering insurance and workers' compensation until February 1 while Rutherford worked to transfer services over to the Blackfeet Tribe.
DesRosier said when Rutherford was notified the county was no longer covering the services, Rutherford made the Facebook post which caused concern in the community.
The Facebook post stated, in part: "Effective as of midnight, Browning Vol Fire Dept. will no longer have workers comp or any other insurance ... Therefore with great regret we as members of the BVFD will not be able to respond to any calls after midnight, until further notice."
"I guess he just to lock the doors and, you know, make a Facebook statement that the fire department was shut down and since it's caused kind of a panic around the community or a lot of worry...that there's no fire protection and no coverage. And we didn't realize he was going to do something like that. So we contacted the other volunteer fire departments in Glacier County and put them on notice to stand by that they may be called to respond to any house fires in Browning."
Rutherford has since deleted the post and posted another statement stating, “The Browning Volunteer Fire Department is back in business!”
KRTV has tried contacting Rutherford several times to give him a chance to make a statement, but he has not yet returned our calls.