BETHLEHEM Following the arrest of a former Selkirk Fire Department treasurer for allegedly embezzling funds from a firehouse, several people have resigned from the company, while the person who began the investigation was terminated.
The Albany County Sheriff’s Department arrested Heather Burns, the former treasurer of the Selkirk Fire Department’s House No. 3, in early February. Burns was charged with felony grand larceny after a months-long investigation by the sheriff’s department found more than $18,000 worth of unauthorized transactions from the fire company’s bank account.
“The Selkirk Fire Department is a close-knit family, and we are all saddened by the actions of one individual. The impact of those actions not only affect the members of the Department but the members of the South Bethlehem Community,” said Chairman of the Selkirk Fire Department’s Board of Fire Commissioners Charles Wickham, at the time of the arrest.
On Feb. 7, Burns turned herself in to sheriff’s investigators with her attorney and was charged with grand larceny in the third degree, a class “D” felony. Burns was arraigned in the Town of Bethlehem Court by Judge Ryan Donovan and was released on her own recognizance.
Wickham said following Burns’ arrest, two people resigned from the company. Her husband, Robbie Burns, and her father-in-law, Robert Burns, resigned as members from the fire company “to protect the department.”
“They resigned for the good of the organization,” said Wickham. “They were very upset about the whole matter.”
However, two people were suspended and one terminated by the Selkirk Board of Fire Commissioners for not following proper procedures when it came to the investigation.
The board terminated company president Kevin Craft, the person who first approached the sheriff’s department with the case, because he didn’t come forward to the board with the information he had. Two other members who knew about the investigation for a short time before the arrest were suspended for 20 days and are now back with the fire company.