Missing Money Means Trouble for Small Community

Missing Money Means Trouble for Small Community
By: CJ Cassidy

Zalma, MO - Allegations of missing money spark fears about the future of a smallHeartland fire department. TheMissouriHighwayPatrol says an investigation is underway.

Police want to know how money from theZalmaVolunteerFireDepartment may have come up missing. But folks inZalma point out where there's smoke, there's fire. They say money missing from the station's accounts is the talk of the town. "I'm sure right now a big bill needs to be paid. I don't know how we're gonna get it paid, but needs to continue to keep up," FormerFireChiefRichardThornburgh says.

He adds in his day the heat firefighters faced, came from real fires. "I'm pretty disappointed. Hopefully they can work it out, but I'm not sure how badly they are in financial trouble," Thornburgh says.

ElsieDavault's thoughts are on a massive blaze that burned down a historic building in Zalma three years ago. She's since bought and rebuilt on the property, and worries crews may not be on hand if a fire like that sparks up again. "I just don't want to see the village lose the fire department because we would lose revenue and everything that keeps the village going," she says.

Volunteer firefighterBrandonSneedhowever asks residents to have a little faith, saying they have the situation under control. "I don't believe fire department is in jeopardy. We're trying to reorganize.Things that happened are in the past. So no hard feelings, we want to keep the fire department going," he says.

The woman who served as the fire department's secretary and treasurer until she resigned after the controversy says most people blame her for the missing money. But not only does she claim her innocence, she also says the money isn't missing, and that she's cooperating with investigators.