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A crowd of supporters of a firefighter dismissed from the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District were at a meeting Thursday. Provided photo.

Update: In an emailed statement to WSPY news on Tuesday George Richter, who was dismissed from the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District over insubordination last week, says that mandatory vaccination or routine COVID-19 testing amounts to an invasion of privacy. Richter says that the fire department should say no to vaccine mandates. He had no comment on whether he would take the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District to court over his dismissal. Fire Chief James Bateman said that Richter on three different occasions had refused to follow orders resulting in his dismissal.


Original Story: The Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District has dismissed a firefighter-paramedic over what it refers to as insubordination. Firefighter George Richter was dismissed from the fire department after refusing to submit to COVID-19 testing or get vaccinated against the virus. Fire Chief James Bateman says that it amounts to refusing an order.

Bateman says that Richter started with the fire department earlier this year.

Bateman says he takes the situation seriously.

Bateman says that with the exception of Richter, the fire department has 100 percent compliance with COVID-19 rules. All staff are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or have agreed to weekly testing for the virus.

There was a crowd of supporters for Richter, including Morris State Representative David Welter, Thursday during a fire board of trustees meeting in Yorkville. The board of trustees had no further comment on Richter's dismissal.

WSPY news contacted Richter for comment Friday and Saturday, but hasn't heard back. We will update this story if we hear from him.