Boone volunteer firefighters charged in alleged scam

By By Erin Beck
Staff writer

WHARTON — The State Fire Marshal’s Office has filed felony criminal complaints against the fire chief and fire officer of a Boone County volunteer fire department.

Ira Rash, of the Wharton-Barrett Volunteer Fire Department, is charged with forging multiple certificates and documents for himself and other members of the fire department, according to Mark Lambert, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s office.

The complaints also allege Fire Chief Robert Rash knew of the altered documents and signed verifications to the state.

The forged documents included training certificates, according to Lambert.

“It was related to training to be an officer on a fire department,” he said.

Officer training prepares participants to lead firefighters and teaches tactical skills, according to Lambert.

The certificates are required by law for fire departments as part of regular reviews of training and equipment.

The State Fire Marshal hopes to send a message to the other agencies regulated by the office, according to a release.

“No person in this office enjoys charging a firefighter with a felony,” Acting State Fire Marshal Anthony Carrico said in the release.

“However, the law requires minimum standards to be met by fire officers and the public expects it.

“All of the fire service community shares the responsibility to keep our communities safe,” he said. “That begins with obtaining the required minimum training.”

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