Volunteer fire department ceases operation

Published 8:49 pm Friday, July 27, 2018

The Holland Volunteer Fire Department ceased operations at the beginning of June.

According to interim Fire Chief Ed Taylor, in the first part of June, the volunteer department sent a letter advising it would cease operations at the fire station.

“We commend their service since the mid-1950s, and they deserve commendation for that from the city and the citizens,” said Taylor.

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The fire station was not strictly volunteers. As of the early 2000s, paid firefighters were staffing the fire station. There were six people — four firefighters and two medics — along with whatever volunteers could help.

“Volunteers would staff if they were available. People have jobs, and volunteers can’t be there during the day,” Taylor said. “Generally speaking, they weren’t available for the day, but they helped during nights and weekends.”

Later in June, former Holland Volunteer Fire Chief Charles Riehle was indicted by a grand jury on seven counts of embezzlement greater than or equal to $200. All seven were felony charges.

Riehle allegedly embezzled money belonging to the Holland Volunteer Fire Department Budgeting Account on or about July 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016, according to court documents.

Riehle was arrested on July 9 and posted the $5,000 bail the same day, the court documents stated.

His first hearing was July 16, and a continuance was issued so that his next court date will be 9:30 a.m. Aug. 1.

Riehle did not return a call to a number listed for him.