POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Fire commissioners in upstate New York have ordered a department to take American flags off its trucks, sparking a heated online debate.

The flags were removed Tuesday from the Arlington Fire District trucks in the town of Poughkeepsie following Monday’s order, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

Arlington Fire Commissioners Board Chairman Jim Beretta told the newspaper the majority of the board saw the flags as a “liability during normal operations for our people and other motorists.”

The Journal reports the flags were recently put up at the request of the union.

Fire Chief Tory Gallante said he’s “very disappointed” with the order.

“I was very upset with their directive and the number of phone calls emails and visitors I believe the majority of the public felt the same way,” he said.

Some online commenters are outraged by the decision, while others believe the mounted flags violated U.S. flag code, the newspaper reported.

An angry resident was seen outside the fire department, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported.

“So we’re going to wave the flags… if they won’t hang them on the trucks… if commissioners won’t do it… we’re going to stand here and we’re going to do it,” Ryan Fouhy said.

Beretta was one of three who voted for the removal of flags. He slammed his door when CBS2 arrived to get further information.

On Thursday, two commissioners, the fire chief and union members are meeting to see if they can come up with a compromise.

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