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Fire chief in Allegan suspended amid child porn allegations

Posted at 11:44 AM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 13:36:31-04

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies has been suspended from his position pending the outcome of an ongoing criminal investigation involving child porn allegations, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to FOX 17 on Wednesday.

Investigators carried out a search warrant of the fire department last week that involved the seizure of computer equipment, a second source confirmed. It's alleged Gillies was looking at child pornography while at work, the source told FOX 17.

Activity on Twitter allegedly involving Gillies was flagged by the social media company which then relayed information to law enforcement at the federal level before local authorities were alerted, the source said. Investigators then traced the IP address to a computer inside the fire department, according to the source.

Jon Cook, chairman of the Allegan Fire District board, also confirmed to FOX 17 that board members were informed of the investigation Friday by law enforcement, immediately cooperated with investigators' requests and moved to suspend Gillies without pay.

Asked if he was informed about the specific allegations against Gillies, Cook said it'd be "inappropriate" to comment any further given the open investigation.

The move comes just one month after Gillies was promoted to fire chief. Pictures from his promotion ceremony were posted to the Allegan Fire District's Facebook page but had been removed late Wednesday. Cook said Gillies was promoted Sept. 7 and has been with the department since 2008.

Michigan State Police is handling the investigation, which could take 1-3 weeks to complete, Cook said.

Allegan Fire District Facebook page

Allegan Fire District Facebook page

The Allegan Fire District provides fire services to the City of Allegan and Allegan Township.