OBERLIN — A former South Amherst auxiliary firefighter pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of making false alarms for reporting a fake fire at New Russia Township Hall.
An additional charge of inducing panic against Dean Evans was dropped by prosecutors as part of his plea bargain, according to Oberlin Municipal Court records.
Evans, 27, called 911 at 7:09 p.m. April 14 to report that the Township Hall on Butternut Ridge Road was “engulfed in flames.”
Firefighters from Oberlin and Wellington who responded found no evidence of flames or that there had been a fire.
Investigators traced the 911 call to the phone number that Evans had listed on his application to join the South Amherst Fire Department. Evans, who joined the department in August 2014, was fired not only because of the investigation into the fake fire call, but for similar reports that allegedly took place in Lorain, South Amherst Fire Chief Al Schmitz told county sheriff’s deputies.
In his report, Deputy Bob Vansant wrote that Evans told him he made the fake New Russia Township call because he hoped he would be among those called out to respond, which he claimed would earn him a $500 paycheck.
“Dean advised that his family is falling on hard times financially and his auxiliary status at the South Amherst Fire Department has been pretty slow,” Vansant wrote. “Dean advised that he thought up a plan to be in the area of the South Amherst Fire Department then call in a bogus fire at the hall.”
The investigation also showed that Evans had made several other 911 calls over the past year, including for a small brush fire he admitted to starting in Lorain.
Vansant’s report also said that Evans appeared to have been trying to engage in “stolen valor” by lying about serving in the military and being wounded in action while stationed in the Middle East. Evans later admitted to lying about having been in the U.S. Army.
Evans, whose attorney did not return a call seeking comment, is scheduled to be sentenced next month.