The Kanawha County prosecutor's office has launched a criminal investigation into allegations the Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department misappropriated public funds.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants confirmed that his office had subpoenaed information from the VFD.
However, Plants would not comment on what information was subpoenaed or if fire department officials were cooperating with the investigation, citing rules of professional conduct.
"It's very early in the investigation," Plants said.
Questions about the department's financial practices are nothing new.
County Commissioner Dave Hardy has often criticized the department for its financial practices and oversight.
The department's financial practices came under fire last fall.
Department officials refused to provide financial records to the county for an audit. The county provides about $20,000 to the department annually as well as funds from the public safety grant program.
However, commissioners voted to begin paying the department's vendors directly and not give the funds to the department because of the refusal to provide some financial documents.
Fire Chief P.J. Johnson did not return calls seeking comment.
The fire department has also run afoul of the state Legislative Auditor's Office.
The department refused to provide financial records to the state as well, prompting the agency to withhold about $12,000 at the beginning of the year.
However, the department did provide the financial statements once the state agency informed VFD officials the money was being withheld.
Staff members with the legislative auditor's office are currently reviewing the financial records, said Stan Lynch, audit director for the state's Legislative Post Audit Division.
Lynch hopes to issue a post audit report on the financial records by the end of the month.
However, no funds will be allocated until the second quarter of the year.
The state allocates a portion of a 0.5 percent surcharge on property and casualty insurance premiums to fire departments around the state.