A former civilian clerk for the Fairfax County Fire Department was arrested yesterday and charged with embezzling several thousand dollars from the county fire marshal's office.

Monica Denise Furr, 25, of 5800 Torrington Dr., Springfield, was charged with felony embezzlement and released on $5,000 bond. Fairfax County police said Furr also allegedly failed to deposit an undetermined number of checks, which were either destroyed or set aside.

"We believe that the amount involved was a couple thousand dollars," said police spokesman Warren R. Carmichael. "At the same time she [allegedly] took the cash payments, she also either destroyed or set aside checks."

Carmichael said there was no indication that the missing checks, made out to Fairfax County, had been cashed. He said the missing money was allegedly embezzled between September 1984 and June.

The investigation by the police department was initiated in late June by fire department officials, Carmichael said, after funds were discovered missing.

"Basically, the money was payment for hazardous-use permits," said Sgt. Larry Hanger, a fire department spokesman. "We don't know how many checks are missing."

Hanger said he could not comment on how long Furr had been employed by the department, whether she was fired or quit.

Richard A. King, deputy county executive for public safety, said yesterday there had been a "similar incident" previously in the fire marshal's office. He said in that case a small sum of money was taken and the employe was dismissed.

"One of the tasks the police department had was, upon conclusion of [the most recent] investigation, to submit to me a series of recommendations to ensure that doesn't happen again."

"The investigation is now totally finished," Carmichael said, and no other fire department employe was believed to be involved.

Conviction for felony embezzlement carries a penalty of two to 10 years.