GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD) – President of the Professional Firefighters Association of South Carolina, Roger Odachowski, is expressing concerns after some Goose Creek firefighters were recently terminated at a time when the city’s fire department is facing nearly 20 vacancies.

Odachowski said all of the city’s fire captains were recently demoted to lieutenant; however, their pay was not impacted. Two of those men were later fired by the city.

“We are here because of a problem, and a problem for one is a problem for all brotherhood,” said Odachowski during a press conference at Goose Creek city hall on Monday. “The citizens of Goose Creek deserve the truth and the facts of what is really happening.”

According to Odachowski, the city currently has 18 vacant firefighter positions. He said in jury July, firefighters had to work 5,600 hours of overtime – they are concerned that this move could impact how the departments protect residents during a fire.

But the city said they only had about 3,000 hours of overtime in July.

Odachowski now wants to meet with the city to discuss concerns. “The Goose Creek Fire Department is facing a staffing crisis, a true staffing crisis,” he said.

News 2 took those concerns to Mayor Greg Habib. He would not comment on why the two former captains were fired.

“I’m certainly not going to sit here and talk about personal issues with the media, or someone who came from somewhere else, who really doesn’t know anything about our city,” said Mayor Habib.

But the mayor did explain that the city has made some changes to modernize, including adopting national standards for promotions. They also hired a full-time training officer about two and a half years ago.

“Again, we have a full-time trainer who evaluates, tests, improves, and you know, sometimes some folks don’t make it through that,” said Habib.

Mayor Habib confirmed the department does have 18 vacancies. When asked if there were enough firefighters right now to protect residents and their property, he said they do have enough and meet the national firefighting standards.

“The standard that the NFPA puts out for personnel on the scene, we exceed those standards in every way right now even as short as we are,” he said.

For now, it does not appear that Mayor Habib plans to meet with Odachowski any time soon.

“I have an open-door policy for citizens of the city of Goose Creek and the needs that our citizens have. I will say again, I am not interested in what somebody outside of our team who is unfamiliar with our department thinks about what we’re doing or how we’re going about it,” Habib said,

Mayor Habib tells News 2 that while there are 18 open firefighter positions, they have filled eight of them – eight of those will be filled by firefighters starting this month. They are in the process of filling those other 10 positions.