Gold River firefighters who walked out in solidarity with fire chief after she was fired last week, returned to resume their duty at the fire hall. Photo courtesy, Gold River Fire & Rescue department

Gold River firefighters who walked out in solidarity with fire chief after she was fired last week, returned to resume their duty at the fire hall. Photo courtesy, Gold River Fire & Rescue department

Fired Gold River fire chief breaks silence, claims ‘wrongful termination’ by council

The fired chief implored firefighters who walked out in solidarity to ‘stay on and protect the community’

Most of the Gold River firefighters who walked out last week have returned to work at the fire department at the urging of their fired former fire chief, easing worries about fire protection for the community.

But the mystery of Lisa Illes’ sudden dismissal that caused them to hand in their pagers Friday remains and Illes is consulting a lawyer to contest what she considers a “wrongful termination” and get some answers.

“I don’t even know why I was terminated. So I will be reaching out to my attorney to get, specific infractions of why they terminated me,” Illes told the VI Free Daily after she decided to break her silence on the matter.

Gold River terminated Illes’ contract on Jan. 8 with mayor Brad Unger saying that it was based on “human resources matters.”

READ MORE: Council fires Gold River fire chief

Around 19 firefighters walked out with her.

On Monday evening, Illes met with her former co-workers at the fire hall and “implored them to stay back and protect the community,” she said.

Illes also said that after serving in Gold River’s fire department for the past 11 years – of which the last four years were as fire chief – she was “disgusted” when the village terminated her contract.

She said that she has the “support” of her crew and the community and intends to “fight this.”

In the meantime she continues serving as the fire chief for the neighbouring community, Tahsis.

The mass resignations by Gold River’s firefighters raised concerns among community members about fire safety and and insurance.

Gold River mayor Brad Unger, said that an interim chief has been appointed and that they have “full coverage” from the fire department. He also said that this has “no effect on insurance at all.”

Neither Unger nor the Gold River Volunteer Fire & Rescue department were able to confirm the exact number of firefighters on the team as of Tuesday.

Jeff Rockwell, volunteer firefighter who worked with Illes for the past four years before she was asked to step down as fire chief said that most of the firefighters from the department were “surprised” by the sudden dismissal of Illes.

“The crew stands united in their conviction that a grave injustice has been done to chief Illes and are still, individually and collectively, processing shock and sadness at her sudden termination, which was to their eyes carried out in an altogether undignified and underhanded manner,” said Rockwell.

Rockwell also said that council members were invited to attend the meeting with members of the fire department and Illes at the fire hall Monday evening but no one showed up.

Gold River

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read