Local Fire Chief Arrested, Charged

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WHITNEY (April 10, 2014) A local volunteer fire department is temporarily out of service after it's fire chief was arrested.

Steve Graham (Jail photo)

Lakeview Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Graham turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday.

Graham's girlfriend, Joyce Dennis, was also wanted by police and was arrested during a traffic stop.

Hill County Sheriff Michael Cox says the couple, wanted for theft, had been under investigation for months.

Cox says allegations surfaced that the Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department's credit card was being used for unofficial business.

"The girlfriend was using the gas credit card to pay the babysitter," said Cox.

"There were receipts for hotels and car rentals and that sort of thing that is not normal for volunteer fire departments." said Cox.

The sheriff confirmed to News 10 that over the past 13 months, Lakeview responded to 296 calls and had a fuel bill of nearly $8,000.

A similar department with 223 calls spent only $1,000 on gasoline.

"We have several times of them using the credit card on video at the different gas stations" said Cox.

The Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department has been temporarily closed.

Hill County officials have given the department 90 days to restructure.

The Whitney Fire Department and the 2604 Volunteer Fire Department are responding to Lakeview's calls in the interim.

Graham is charged with Felony Theft.

Dennis is charged with Felony Theft and seven counts of Credit Card Abuse.