The State Fire Marshal has filed felony charges against the Wharton-Barrett Volunteer fire chief and one of his officers for allegedly falsifying training records.
Ira Rash, a Wharton-Barrett fire officer, has been charged with forging a public record and conspiracy, which Fire Chief Robert Rash allegedly verified even though he knew the information was false, the fire marshal’s office reported.
The certificates are required by law for fire departments as part of regular reviews of training and equipment.
The complaint, announced Monday, July 21, alleges Ira Rash forged the certificates and documents for himself and other members of the department
“No person in this office enjoys charging a firefighter with a felony,” Acting State Fire Marshal Anthony Carrico said. “However, the law requires minimum standards to be met by fire officers and the public expects it.”
Carrico said the fire marshal’s office hopes to send a message to the other agencies regulated by the office.
“All of the fire service community shares the responsibility to keep our communities safe,” he said. “That begins with obtaining the required minimum training.”
Monday night Robert Rash apologized for his actions and took full responsibility. He released a statement, which read:
“I have taken full responsibility of signing the documents without reading them. And am extremely sorry for the problems it has caused. Right now I'm speechless. I can't come up with words.”