Clearwater fire chief dismissed; Warrant, personnel issues cited

AIKEN -- A Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department chief who was arrested last week on a year-and-a-half-old warrant has been dismissed from his position, according to an official who oversees the department.

“The only thing I can say is Mr. Toole was terminated because of an arrest warrant and other personnel issues,” said Marvin Herndon, a water and sewer commissioner for Clearwater, referring to Mike Toole.

Mr. Herndon said the dismissal occurred on Friday.

He said the department currently has no chief and will conduct a search for one. He said Mr. Toole had been in the role of chief for about the past two years.

Mr. Toole surrendered last week after officials called him to say they'd found an unserved warrant in his name. He was later released on his own recognizance.

The allegation stemmed from a 2007 incident in which a 17-year-old Aiken woman accused Chief Toole of touching her breasts, according to an incident report.

Mr. Toole denied it.

Police say that soon after the warrant for simple assault was taken out, the sheriff's office tried to serve it on Mr. Toole. When they couldn't find him, the warrant was filed according to department protocol.

It wasn't noticed again until last week when a warrant check on someone with a similar last name led a dispatcher to find the file bearing the former chief's name, officials said.

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