Fake FDNY Firefighter Arrested at Fatal Morganton, NC, House Fire

March 27, 2024
Morganton firefighters said the man, dressed in FDNY turnout gear, was trying to put out the fire with a garden hose.

Simone Jasper

The Charlotte Observer


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A fake firefighter with a garden hose refused to leave the scene of a deadly blaze in North Carolina, officials told news outlets.

Early March 27, the Morganton Department of Public Safety said its crews were called to the fire and spotted a 37-year-old man wearing a New York City Fire Department outfit.

“When firefighters first arrived, a neighbor was on-scene, dressed in FDNY turnout gear and attempting to put out the fire with a garden hose,” police wrote in a news release. “Morganton firefighters began to take over suppression efforts; however, the male refused to vacate the property.”

The neighbor also is accused of interfering as crews tried to start battling the fire, which had “fully engulfed” the home. He was taken into custody “after multiple commands,” according to the public safety department.

A woman was found dead in the burned home, though her name hasn’t been released pending the notification of family members, Chief Jason Whisnant told the Hickory Daily Record and WJZY.

The man was arrested and reportedly faces multiple charges, including “resist, delay, obstruct public officer” and “impersonating a firefighter/medical personnel.” He is scheduled to appear in court April 18.

An investigation into the fire was ongoing as of March 27, officials said.

Morganton’s public safety department didn’t immediately share additional details with McClatchy News. The town is roughly a 75-mile drive northwest from Charlotte.


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