North Carolina

NC fire chief accused of assault on wife was back on the job 4 days later, report says

Charles Lee Herzig
Charles Lee Herzig Brunswick County Sheriff's Office

The fire chief for a small North Carolina town in the southeast corner of the state was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife last week but was back on the job four days after landing in jail, according to TV station WECT.

The station reported that Town of Northwest Fire Chief Charles Herzig put himself on voluntary leave after he got out of jail Sept. 22, but the board governing volunteer fire departments reinstated him two days later.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office records show officers arrested Herzig for assault on a female just before 10:30 a.m. Sept. 20. The arrest warrant for Herzig accuses him of grabbing his wife by the arms and punching her in the face with a closed fist at their shared home in Reigelwood, North Carolina, near Wilmington.

David Selke, who chairs the board of directors for the volunteer fire department, told WECT: “The chief had put himself on voluntary leave. And that’s our policy, if you’ve been charged with anything, you will be put on voluntary leave, but he had already put himself on voluntary leave. The board met on the 24th, we had a special board meeting. At that time he was put back on active duty.”

He added that the board would meet again to consider Herzig’s status with the department after the charges are resolved.

Herzig has been arrested for assault before. In March 2017, a therapist in Wilmington filed assault charges against Herzig after, The Brunswick Beacon reported, the therapist accused Herzig of attacking him during a counseling session.

The Wilmington Star News reported that the 2017 charges against Herzig were dismissed after the parties agreed to settle the case between themselves.

Douglas Owen, the therapist, told the Brunswick Beacon, “He was forced to repay my out-of-pocket medical costs. But under (my) protest, they dismissed it. They said with a self-initiated warrant, if you receive restitution, they drop (the charges).”

Owen told the Beacon: “I went round and round with them. I felt like I was a bar fight bum. This was an assault.”

Herzig, for his part, reportedly told the Beacon after the charges were dropped: “You can take out a warrant on anybody in North Carolina. It’s unfortunate.”

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting