McDonald firefighter jailed after allegedly calling in fake fire

Local News

Investigators said several fire departments rushed to the scene, only to find there wasn't a fire at all

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – A Trumbull County firefighter is in trouble with the law after police say he reported a fire that never happened.

Appearing in Niles Municipal Court Monday morning, McDonald firefighter 23-year-old Mathew Rozhon was arraigned on charges of inducing panic, making false alarms and felony disrupting public services.

“There’s a lot of things that are disheartening about the whole thing,” said McDonald Police Lt. Ryan Ronghi.

The charges are the result of an investigation into what happened on Jan. 23.

Rozhon: “Hey, you want to drop tones for a possible structure fire?”
Dispatcher: “Where at, brother?”
Rozhon: “1051 Illinois got called into the station.”

Investigators said McDonald police and firefighters, along with firefighters from Girard and Weathersfield, all rushed to the scene, only to find there wasn’t a fire at all.

Ronghi said Rozhon claimed a woman stopped by the fire department and told him about the fire, but he couldn’t tell police her name or give her description.

“We determined that that story wasn’t playing out so we looked into it a little further,” Ronghi said.

Rozhon has since been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation from both McDonald and Brookfield fire departments.

Officials at Lane LifeTrans said he’s been removed from the schedule there. He’s also on indefinite suspension in Girard.

“It hurts. It’s not what we’re about and this incident does not define our fire department or what we stand for,” said McDonald Asst. Fire Chief Jim Petruzzi.

As of Monday night, Rozhon is out of the Trumbull County Jail on a $60,000 bond.

“I hope most guys would never do something like this but I think how they’re seeing, you know, with what happened with the Warren officer, and now this young man here, I mean, hopefully it’s a learning lesson for a lot of these guys that might think twice,” Ronghi said.

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