Money missing from Warrenton program meant to help young people fight fires

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by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 13 at 9:28 AM

(KMOV.com) – Firefighters told News 4 they are investigating after money meant to help young people in Warrenton went missing.

Firefighters with the Warrenton Fire Protection District recently told News 4 funds from the Explorer program, which trains teens to fight fires, have gone missing. Warrenton Fire Chief Mike Owenby said officials discovered the money was missing after examining bank statements. Owenby did not tell News 4 how much was missing but said it consisted of thousands of dollars.

Officials said they believe a paramedic who also served as the treasurer for the program was responsible for taking the funds. The chief told News 4 she was in complete control of the funds with little oversight.

Owenby told News 4 the money was not generated from taxes but was instead raised from fundraisers, grants, and donations. Those who participated in the program recently picked up trash along Highway F near Wright City to help raise money.

Owenby said the program is essential for the department because only six of the district’s 55 firefighters are fulltime.

Owenby told News 4 the district’s board will now be overseeing the program’s funds.

“We have put extra measures and protocols in place so that this will never, ever happen again," Owenby said.

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