New Jersey volunteer firefighter charged with calling in false alarms

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Teen accused of calling in fake fires to get experience as volunteer firefighter
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Carolina Leid reports from Piscataway.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (WABC) -- A New Jersey volunteer firefighter is under arrest on charges of calling in numerous false alarms.

18-year-old Justin Tran just started as a Piscataway volunteer firefighter with the Arbor Hose Company #1 earlier this summer and was ready to get to work.

He was so eager, according to police, that he allegedly made fake 911 calls to get experience responding to alarms for the township's fire department.

"He was a probationary firefighter, trying to get experience, to gain experience as a firefighter," said Captain Scott Cartmell, of the Piscataway Police Department.

The South Plainfield teen allegedly called in fake reports of suspicious odors and smoke conditions all to gain some hands on experience as a volunteer firefighter.

"I don't know what happened. He just said, 'I don't know what happened,'" the suspect's stepfather said.

The suspect's stepfather also said that Tran is out of jail on $50,000 bail, but not home to chat about the allegations.

Officials say he's charged with 14 counts of causing public alarm, and the fake calls could have put first responders and the public at risk.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked contact Detective Daniel Nee at 732-562-2362.