LORAIN — A former South Amherst auxiliary firefighter has pulled petitions to run for mayor of Lorain against incumbent Chase Ritenauer. He will run as a Democrat.
Dean Evans, 30, was fired from the department more than three years ago after falsely reporting a fire at the New Russia Township hall on April 14, 2015.
He reported the Butternut Ridge Road building was “engulfed in flames,” hoping he would be called to the scene and paid $500 for the shift, as his family had fallen on hard times. When Oberlin and Wellington fire departments responded to the call, they found no evidence that the building had been on fire, and investigators later traced the call to a phone number Evans listed on his application to join the South Amherst Fire Department.
He also was accused of setting a small brush fire in Lorain and calling its fire department. The Lorain fire did not spread and caused no injuries. After initially lying, Evans reportedly admitted to setting the fire.
He pleaded no contest to a charge of making false alarms and was sentenced to four months in Lorain County Jail, five years probation and a $1,000 fine.
“I apologize for that mistake, but I do not want that to impact me, but I know I have the power to change everything if I was elected,” Evans said.
Since pulling his petition Dec. 5, Evans has collected about 110 signatures, with a goal of 150 before he turns it in early next week. The minimum for his name to be on the ballot in May is 50, according to Paul Adams, the director of the Lorain County Board of Elections. Petitions are due to the Board of Elections by 4 p.m. Feb. 6.
Evans, who works for the Grafton Correctional Food Service Department, said he hopes to bring better after-school programs for the city’s youths, along with more housing options and better resources for its residents.
“I believe that it is time for Lorain to have something new and try to get something better for Lorain … to bring hope back to Lorain,” he said.
The only other person who has pulled petitions is Ritenauer, who is also a Democrat.
“Anyone has the right to pull petitions,” Ritenauer said. “I welcome him into the arena.”