Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 3, 2013

State police seize Mercer fire board records

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — The West Virginia State Police are executing a search warrant this morning on the Mercer County Fire Board.

The warrant stems from an irregularity noted by a state auditor, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said.

“We are getting some records gathered up,” Ash said. “We are going to conduct an investigation to see if there is any wrongdoing or if it’s just bad record keeping.”

Ash said the information will be provided to the state police and state auditors who will investigate and report back if there is any criminal wrong doing.”

“It’s a public concern,” Ash said. “We don’t know if there is criminal wrong doing or not, that’s why we do the investigation before prosecution.”

The fire board office is located in the Mercer County Courthouse.

The duty of the fireboard is to collect fire fees and distribute the money to volunteer fire departments, according to County Coordinator Vicky Reed.

Phillip Ball, a member of the advisory board, declined comment this morning regarding the investigation.

George Sitler, chief assistant prosecuting attorney, said, “The state auditor has requested some records from the fire board, so we helped them secure the records.”