Julian Fire Chief And His Firefighter Son Out Of Job After Controversial Social Media Comments

JULIAN, N.C. — The former Julian fire chief is addressing his resignation following controversial comments made by his firefighter son on social media.

Jeff Folwell told FOX8 his son’s comments were taken out of context and do not reflect who he is.

“Basically, I hate that this has happened. The views that were expressed on Facebook are not my views nor were they the views when I was chief of Julian Fire Department,” Folwell said.

Screenshots of a now-deleted post show a comment referring to people being exterminated as a way to fight illegal immigration.

Folwell says his son lost his job with the North Chatham Fire Department as well as the Julian Department. The former chief resigned in the wake of the controversy.

Laura Burns said she was shocked by the comment and was asked to contact the department regarding her concerns.

“Whether he intended to actually do anyone harm or not, the public should never have to doubt whether we as first responders will do our jobs without prejudice,” Burns wrote.

In a statement, the board of the Julian Volunteer Fire Department apologized for anyone offended by the post.

“The remarks posted, and subsequent actions by a second member, do not represent the community-oriented values of this department. By action of the Board of Directors both individuals involved are no longer affiliated with JVFRD. Julian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department respects all the residents and visitors of the fire district regardless of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, political views or sexual orientation,” the statement reads.

Folwell said his family has faced backlash for the comments.

“They’re talking about we’re racist, but the hatred that they showed toward us is to me what racism is all about. I’m not a racist,” Folwell said. “The speech that you make you have to face consequences, but there’s all these others out there making these statements, and they’re free to do it. Nobody’s harassing them.”

Burns wrote that she hoped there would be lessons learned by this.

“I hope these two individuals are given the grace that they need to learn to give others,” Burns said.

You can read the full statement from the Julian Fire Department board below:

“The Board of Directors of the Julian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (JVFRD) met on July 2, 2019 to address concerns that arose from comments posted on social media by a member that occurred the previous day. The remarks posted, and subsequent actions by a second member, do not represent the community-oriented values of this department. By action of the Board of Directors both individuals involved are no longer affiliated with JVFRD. Julian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department respects all the residents and visitors of the fire district regardless of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, political views or sexual orientation. Furthermore, we are working with the governments of Guilford County and Randolph County to re-establish the trust of the community and will focus on professional response and conduct for anyone that needs emergency assistance. Effective today, July 3, 2019, Guilford County Fire Marshal, Stephen Thomas will serve as the interim Fire Chief as the JVFRD focuses on its future. We deeply regret the actions of our former members and we apologize to anyone that may have been offended.”

From www.myfox8.com