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W.Va. man impersonates FF on radio, tries to cancel overdose call

Matthew W. Milburn told first responders the unconscious subject was ’10-4' and they could cancel their response



Cumberland Times-News

BARTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia man was arrested Friday after he allegedly impersonated a firefighter and attempted to use a two-way radio to cancel responding fire and EMS units called to a Pekin house for a medical emergency.

Matthew W. Milburn, 32, of Romney, who is reportedly not affiliated with a fire or EMS department, was charged with impersonating a firefighter and impeding emergency transmissions in connection with the Tuesday incident, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

It was about 2:45 p.m. when Barton Hose Company and the George’s Creek Ambulance Service were called to the 17100 block of Pekin Street for a medical emergency. While responding, Barton Chief Kevin Rounds heard over Zello, an online cell phone app, a person calling himself “Captain 38.”

“The person, later identified as Milburn, told responding firefighters that the unconscious subject was ’10-4' and they could cancel their response,” the fire marshal’s office said in a statement.

When first responders arrived, they reportedly saw Milburn walking away. The 911 caller told them they had used Narcan to reverse the effects of a drug overdose on a family member, and Milburn used the radio to make the transmission.

The fire marshal’s office said Rounds called for Milburn to come back, and when he did, the fire chief recognized the two-way radio attached to his belt as a device that could transmit over radio frequencies. Milburn reportedly gave the radio to the fire chief and ran away.

While investigators were searching for Milburn on Friday to question him about the radio transmission, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office received a call for a dispute between neighbors with a gun in the 19200 block of Legislative Road. Deputy State Fire Marshals responded to the home and located Milburn. He was arrested on a Garrett County bench warrant, and Milburn reportedly admitted to investigators he was the person on the radio.

Milburn was charged in a similar incident in Virginia in April 2017. In that incident, he was charged with three counts of impersonating a firefighter. He admitted to Frederick County Fire Marshal investigators that he had identified himself over the radio as a unit from Reynolds Store Volunteer Fire and Rescue in Cross Junction, even though he was not a member of that organization.

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