ELYRIA – A former fire chief with the Avon Lake Fire Department has been arrested on charges of rape and sexual battery.
Larry Grizzell, 59, of Gulf Road, was arrested at his home without incident, according to a release from Elyria police Monday afternoon. On Sunday, police received a complaint alleging a sex offense against Grizzell.
An investigation by detectives found that Grizzell had sexually assaulted a family member. As a result of the investigation, detectives signed warrants against Grizzell for first-degree felony rape and third-degree felony sexual battery, police said.
Grizzell “made admissions regarding the offenses he was charged with,” when police interviewed him, officers said.
In an initial court appearance in Elyria Municipal Court Tuesday, Grizzell pleaded not guilty before Judge Robert White. A bond and preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday morning on the matter.
Grizzell was being held in Lorain County Jail without bond.
Grizzell served as fire chief in Avon Lake for four years before stepping down in 2005, after months of internal strife between the chief and the city firefighters union. Grizzell remained with the department as a platoon lieutenant before retiring in 2015, according to the Avon Lake Fire Department.
In a letter to then Mayor Rob Berner in November 2005, Grizzell cited numerous roadblocks and waning firefighter support among his reasons for his resignation.
Grizzell met strong opposition after entering into an agreement with the Eastern Lorain County EMS Association that allowed the department to transport emergency patients to an emergency care center in Avon. A fire chief from a neighboring city said the decision was so unpopular with union members, who favored a cooperative of Lakewood, Fairview and St. John West Shore hospital, that they took a vote of no confidence in Grizzell.