Fire Marshals warn of phone scam

By: Channel 8 Eyewitness Newsroom

Press Release from State Fire Marshal’s Office

The State Fire Marshal has become aware of situations where individuals are claiming to be Deputy State Fire Marshals.

These individuals are placing phone calls to businesses and requiring them to take actions regarding or involving fire safety equipment and procedures.

In one instance a restaurant was ordered to evacuate the building so the caller could time the evacuation.  The caller also instructed the business to activate the hood extinguishment system on their way out of the building.  The business complied with the order and incurred financial losses.  

Nebraska State Fire Marshal Jim Heine said, "Our mission is to create opportunity through more effective, more efficient, and customer focused State Government.  In order to accomplish this mission agency staff operate in a much more professional manner than these callers." Our inspection staff wear uniforms, carry agency credentials, and drive marked vehicles.  You can expect direct contact from our staff along with a written directive on agency forms if required; not an unconfirmed phone call.  It’s always a good policy to ask the individual for identification.  You can also call the State Fire Marshal’s Agency at 402-471-2027 to confirm. 

In non-emergency situations if you receive a phone call from an individual identifying himself or herself as a State Fire Marshal here are some steps to take to prevent identification fraud and unnecessary cost to your business.

  • Attempt to get the phone number of the calling party from caller ID
  • Ask the caller for his or her name and have them meet you in person
  • Document and report any activity involving suspicious individuals identifying themselves as a fire marshal to local law enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Agency