David Alan Spain, officials say, was a little too eager to become a firefighter.
Spain, 25, walked into Hall County Fire Station No. 13 on Sardis Road on Wednesday, introduced himself to the lieutenant in command, and said he was reporting for his first day on the job, according to Fire Chief David Kimbrell.
There was just one problem: Spain was never hired.
On Thursday, Spain bailed out of the Hall County jail after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of impersonating a public officer.
“This is a first for us,” Kimbrell said. “I really don’t know what his motive was.”
Kimbrell said Spain spoke “on and on” to the lieutenant about his qualifications as a firefighter, including expertise in marine rescue, and said he had been hired and assigned to work at the Sardis-area station.
The lieutenant was suspicious from the outset, Kimbrell said, because no new hires are sent to stations immediately. They report to the training center first and are later introduced to their fellow firefighters. Any lieutenant at a station would know when to expect a new hire, Kimbrell said.
The Hall County Fire Department has 12 new recruits going through the system, but Spain isn’t one of them.
Kimbrell said the lieutenant asked Spain for his paperwork and said he would call the county offices to confirm the hiring.
“When the lieutenant got on the phone, the guy got in his car and took off,” Kimbrell said.
However, Spain previously told firefighters where he lived in the Sardis area, so Hall County deputies were able to quickly locate him at home, Kimbrell said.
Spain, wearing a fire department jacket not issued by Hall County, at first denied the impersonation act, then admitted it, Kimbrell said.
Kimbrell said while Hall County officials had never before seen anyone try to impersonate being a firefighter, “it does happen.”
A bill introduced in the Georgia legislature would clear up the language of the law that addresses impersonating a police officer to include other public safety officials, Kimbrell said. Spain was charged with the more obscure crime of impersonating a public officer or employee.
Spain never got a chance to look over the firefighting apparatus he was apparently so keenly interested in inspecting.
“Obviously not a lot of forethought went into this, because how long did he think he could pull off something like that?” Kimbrell said.
No contact information for Spain was available Thursday and it was not known if had a lawyer.