Fire District 5 terminates contract of Chief Prater

Sheriff’s Office started investigating Fire District 5’s finances last month

The Fire District 5 Board of Commissioners fired chief Dan Prater on May 9.

Jim Crisp, the commission chairman, said in the release that the vote to “immediately terminate the employment contract” was unanimous. The release states Prater violated district policies. But the release did not say which policies were violated.

On April 17 , the commission placed Prater on administrative leave “while the fire district conducts a financial investigation” by the state Auditor’s Office, an earlier release stated.

The commission “is committed to working closely with acting Chief Adam Fulbright,” the new release received Monday states.

In April, Crisp and Fulbright emailed a news release that stated, “During the internal investigation it was found that Chief Prater used public funds for personal use and acceptance of Vacation Leave pay beyond the amounts earned. This matter has been turned over to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s office and the State Auditor’s office has been notified.”

The earlier release states that Fire District 5 officials are cooperating with both agencies. Neither Crisp nor Fulbright would provide further details at the time.

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office said last month that it is investigating a reported misappropriation of funds after being contacted by Fire District 5 commissioners. The office declined to comment further.

“We would like the community to know that the professional level of Fire and EMS services that they have become accustomed to will be maintained,” an April release from the fire district stated.