The chief of District of Squamish Fire Rescue has been terminated from his position, and he says it's because of a dispute between him and municipal officials over the consumption of alcohol at the district's two fire halls.

In a one-and-a-half page statement sent to numerous media outlets Wednesday, Ray Saurette said the district's municipal council terminated his position during a closed session on Tuesday.

He claims that municipal officials were poised to enact a no-alcohol policy at the district's fire halls, which he supported.

But some volunteer firefighters and retirees banded together to convince members of the district not to go through with it and to retain lounges at the fire halls, Saurette said.

"When there is a fire in town or a vehicle crash on the highway there is no way to know if the person coming to your rescue has just put their beer down before they climbed on the fire truck," Saurette said.

"To make sure I don't add my name to the list of people in history that knew of the problems and failed to take action, I am compelled to speak out."

Saurette was fire chief for 9 years.

Mayor Greg Gardner told late Wednesday that the district was looking for a different type of leader in the fire chief and that Saurette did not have a good working relationship with firefighters.

Gardner confirmed the existence of lounges in the fire halls. Firefighters lease the spaces and manage them.

He said there is no outright ban on drinking in the lounges.

"Being a firefighter can be a traumatic profession," Gardner said. "They deal with grizzly motor vehicle accidents, they do need a space to decompress."

But Gardner said there is an expectation that if a call comes in, firefighters who have consumed alcohol will not respond to that call.

Gardner said Saurette has never expressed concerns to the district about firefighters possibly being unfit to perform their duties because of alcohol.

"If that were the case, I'd very much expect him to raise it and deal with it," he said.

Deputy Chief Mike Adams, who just transferred to the district seven weeks ago, told that he was informed of Saurette's termination Wednesday morning by Kevin Ramsay, the district's chief administrative officer.

"We're still trying to digest it," Adams said by phone from the main district fire hall.

Adams confirmed that there is a common room for firefighters at the fire hall, used by association members during off-hours.

Asked whether he has ever seen alcohol consumed there, he said he "can't say yes or no."

He said he's been busy with the transition into his new job.

"I don't know what goes on there," he said.

With files from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger