DIMOCK TOWNSHIP, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local volunteer fire department is out of service after its ex-fire chief is accused of impersonating the current chief during an emergency situation.
William Corter, 50, once served as the chief of the Elk Lake Volunteer Fire Company in Susquehanna County.
Despite being released on July 17, police say he lied to 911 dispatchers on Saturday and unlawfully assumed the position.
“He is an ex-chief. He has been released from the fire company due to internal matters, and he is no longer a member with us so he had really no business being on our scene,” said Cameron Ross, president of the Elk Lake Volunteer Fire Company.
According to police, it happened Saturday night when the department was called to assist with a fire in Auburn Township. Ross tells us the current fire chief, Adam Belles, was out of town when the incident occurred.
“We were mutual aid to a bigger company, the bigger company just down the road from us was Meshoppen Fire Department, and they were the initial dispatched company for that call itself so we were just going as help for a tanker just to be water supply,” Ross explained.
At this time, police say Corter ordered another member of the department, 36-year-old Lucas Davidson, to kick the door down at fire headquarters to access the tanker and bring it to the scene. But Ross says Davidson does not have proper certification or training to operate an emergency vehicle. Police say Corter went to the scene of the fire and communicated as the fire chief, despite records showing he was no longer a member of the department.
“This is not the first time that he has tried to do this, or attempted it and it’s also not the first time that he has also tried to come over the county radio as Elk Lake. 11 since his release from the company,” Ross told us.
Both Corter and Davidson were arrested. Corter faces impersonating a public servant and disorderly conduct charges.
Davidson faces trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.
Police tell us fire coverage will be tasked out to surrounding departments for the time being.