NC Assistant Chief Resigns Amidst Embezzlement Investigation

An assistant fire chief in North Carolina has resigned amidst an investigation into embezzlement from a firefighters’ foundation for burned children.

Lincolnton Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Bill Fortenberry resigned last Friday as police and prosecutors continue looking into possible “financial crimes” associated with the Lincoln County Chapter of the North Carolina Firefighters Burned Children’s Fund.

The group’s Public information Officer, Dion Burleson, was quoted by WBTV as saying in a statement: “On September 11, 2015, the board of officers for the Lincoln County chapter of the North Carolina Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund became suspicious of possible fraudulent activities involving the group’s finances,. The president of the Lincoln County chapter, Casey Noles, immediately contacted local law enforcement and started the investigative process into this matter.”

Chief Fortenberry, a 26 year veteran, was promoted into the assistant chief’s position in June. He served as the treasurer for the burn fund.

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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