Several suburban firefighters resign in protest

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MERRIONETTE PARK, Ill. --   Up to 20 volunteer firefighters in south suburban Merrionette Park have resigned in protest of three officers and an administrator being fired by the new fire chief.

Tom Wendt now heads the department replacing Len Edling who retired last month.

Wendt said he has the right to replace those who serve.

About half the volunteer force resigned in a show of solidarity with those who were let go.

Chief Wendt said terminating the officers and the administrator were part of his effort to modernize the department and said the volunteers who quit did so because of sour grapes.

Officials say replacements will be hired to fill all positions, with the mayor saying public safety is not being jeopardized.