Firefighters with Institute Volunteer Fire Department responded to calls Thursday in the midst of a drama that racked their department.
"We would never tolerate any activity like that and it's just kind of a shock to us," said Chief Patrick Higginbotham.
Kanawha County deputies arrested Justin Adkinson, 29, of Saint Albans on Thursday at the Institute VFD. He's accused of trying to seduce a teenager over the Internet and sending her lewd photographs.
Higginbotham denies Adkinson ever officially worked as a firefighter.
"We decided to let him sit in on some classes," Higginbotham said. "We was in the process of doing a background check on him, that's what we do with all our people."
Amy Adkinson, the suspect's mother, said she's ashamed of her son.
"I'm absolutely horrified," she said. "It's just beyond anything I could ever think of my son doing."
Investigators said Adkinson used to live in Florida, where he worked with the teen at the Civil Air Patrol. When Adkinson moved back to West Virginia, kept in touch with her through Facebook messages, even sending sexually explicit photos of himself and asking for pictures of her.
The girl reported the incident to the St. John's County Sheriff's Department in Florida. Deputies then notified investigators in West Virginia, who obtained Adkinson's warrants on April 5.
Members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC Task Force) relayed the information from Florida to West Virginia. Members of that task force assigned to the Kanawha Bureau of Investigation.
Investigators said Adkinson had planned to visit the girl in Florida to have sex with her, but that meeting never happened.
Higginbotham said he hopes the arrest doesn't taint the department's reputation. Earlier this year, the treasurer of the fire department, Ethel Andrews, pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement.
"It was really a big blow to us and hopefully we can keep moving," he said.
Higginbotham confirmed that Adkinson's father is a long-time member of the fire department. Adkinson will be held at South Central Regional Jail until he is extradited to Florida.
A volunteer firefighter was arrested for trying to lure a child on the Internet, according to deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies arrested Justin Adkinson, 29, of Saint Albans, on Thursday at the Institute Volunteer Fire Department.
He is charged with the use of a computer to seduce, solicit, or lure child and transmission of material harmful to minors by electronic device.
The warrants were obtained on April 5 from St. John's County, Florida.
Members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC Task Force) sent the information from Florida to West Virginia, where deputies within Kanawha Bureau of Investigation handled the case.
He was transported to South Central Regional Jail.