Gov. Joseph P. Teasdale called out the Missouri National Guard yesterday to help city police protect stationhouses against sabotage as firefighters halted work for the second time in 10 weeks.
The governor ordered two National Guard units, totaling 250 men, to begin helping police in firefighting duties starting at 6 a.m. today. The force from Hannibal, Boonville and Fulton will consist of 150 military policemen and 100 backup personnel.
Guard Lt. Col. Jerry Uhlman of Jefferson City said the guardsmen would be used primarily in support of 450 city policemen who were converted to firefighting chores when the firemen walked off the job Monday night.
Mayor Richard Berkley asked Teasdale for Guard help after an emergency meeting with City Council.
Firefighters deserted their posts without warning to protest the city's decision not to rehire 42 firemen dismissed after a 12-day "sickout" in December. About 700 National Guardsmen were called in during the earlier job action and took over much of the firefighting duties in the city of 500,000.
Police Chief Norman Caron said 18 pieces of fire equipment were sabotaged before firefighters walked out. Police said tires were slashed, foreign objects were placed in gas tanks, rags were stuffed into pumps and wiring was ripped out.