ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — Two Robeson County firefighters were charged with driving while intoxicated after a crash while on the way to a fire scene, according to officials with multiple fire departments.
Orrum Township Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Kenneth Caulder Jr. and Melquan Williams, with the Fairmont Rural Fire Department, were arrested and charged with DWI, according to Sgt. Sherwood Lewis with North Carolina Highway Patrol.
Williams is set to become fire chief in January, according to Fairmont Rural Fire Chief Rod Heasley.
Orrum Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Britt told News13 he learned of the crash Friday night and Caulder was suspended Saturday.
Williams was suspended by the County Fire Department Board of Directors but was overruled by a two-thirds majority of board members, according to Heasley. After the vote, three board members — president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer — resigned, Heasley said.
The motions — which passed unanimously — were to suspend Williams as a firefighter and ban him from serving as an officer in the department, adopt a resolution to immediately terminate anyone arrested for DWI and to elect a new fire chief in January if the motion banning Williams from being an officer passed.
Heasley told News13 he wanted to resign but county Fire Marshal Stephanie Chavis recommended he wait until the investigation is complete. We’ve reached out to Chavis for more information and are waiting to hear back.
In 2018, Caulder and Williams were two of 10 firefighters arrested and charged with arson. They were accused of intentionally setting fire to abandoned homes and wooded areas in the community.
According to Britt, Caulder’s arson charges were dismissed. News13 has reached out to Caulder’s attorney for confirmation. Britt said Caulder was kept as a firefighter after the arson charges until the matter played out in court.
Heasley said he wasn’t fired chief when Williams was arrested for arson and isn’t sure why Williams was kept as a firefighter.
News13 has reached out to North Carolina Highway Patrol for more information about the crash and are waiting to hear back.
Count on News13 for updates.