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Volunteer firefighter leaves behind $400K for fire district

There's now a fight between the three stations in the Central Warren Fire Protection District about where the money should go.

Jim Poling was born and raised in Kirkwood, Illinois.

"Jim was a very gentle person, really loving," says one fellow fire fighter.

"I watched Jimmy Poling grow up, and his love with this community and this fire department," says Mary Roll.

Jim died on November 12th, 2018, "He wanted the Kirkwood Fire Department to stay here forever," says Beth McBroom Vollbracht. Leaving $403,000 to the Kirkwood Fire Department, where he was a volunteer firefighter.

McBroom Vollbracht says, "This is his family."

Kirkwood firefighters say that money isn't being bequeathed to the station, "We believe that's what Jimmy wanted," says McBroom Vollbracht.

Jim's family and friends say, legally he had to bequeath the money to the Central Warren Fire Protection District. They say he wanted all the money to go to the Kirkwood Fire Department. His cousin, Cecilia McVey says, "This was where the money was intended to be."

There's three stations within the Central Warren Fire District, Cameron, Monmouth and Kirkwood stations. Kirkwood firefighters say the money Jim left will help modernize the station, "A new fire station in Kirkwood would be fine and dandy," said Ms. Roll.

Fire Chief of the Cameron division of the Central Warren Fire Protection District, Doug Ray, believes Jim would've wanted his money distributed between all three departments, "You can't say enough nice things about Jim. Jim would bend over backwards for ya. He would do what he could for ya."

In a statement, the Board of Trustees say, "Our goal for this money is to utilize the money in ways that benefit the entire fire district. We are trying to identify and address the most pressing needs of the district at this time."

Ray says, "They need upgrades, we need upgrades, it just depends on how the board see's fit to use that monies."

Decisions regarding the money will be discussed at the next month's Central Warren Fire Protection District board meeting.

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