NC man impersonated the fire department, police say. Now he could face a $40,000 fine.

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A North Carolina man who impersonated firefighters on an emergency radio channel and canceled a call to a house where an alarm was ringing now faces a fine of nearly $40,000, the FCC announced Thursday.

The Federal Communications Commission recommended a $39,278 penalty to Ocean Hinson, who was arrested in the Surry County town of Mount Airy last year.

In October 2017, Surry County dispatchers sought a unit from the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department after an alarm got triggered at a nearby house, according to a news release. Hinson, a civilian using a radio in his car, answered the call, identifying himself as “Westfield VFD unit 7331” and reporting himself en route to the scene.

Four minutes later, the release said, Hinson called the dispatcher and canceled the call though no fire trucks had arrived at the house.

“Fortunately,” the release said, “no fire actually occurred.”

In December, sheriff’s deputies charged Hinson, who was 23 at the time, with one misdemeanor count of interfering with emergency communication, the Mount Airy News reported.

Mr. Hinson’s alleged actions had the potential to cause significant harm and apparently violated FCC rules against operating on radio frequencies without a license, the FCC said.

Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08