Portsmouth chief: You can't go around impersonating a firefighter
Fire Chief Steven Achilles said when firefighters attempted to rescue Dean Ellis, 29, by extending a ladder to the roof, Ellis would not get on the ladder and asked for a hose. He was not wearing protective clothing, an air mask or a helmet; firefighters took him for an occupant of the building, the chief said.
The chief said Ellis put firefighters at risk and became a distraction during the three-alarm fire that seriously damaged the F.A. Gray building on Daniel Street June 30.
Achilles said firefighters were unfamiliar with Ellis and did not believe that he was a firefighter.
According to court records, the Manchester Fire Department reported that Ellis has never been a member of the department. He works for a company that supplies fire extinguishers, court records state.
Achilles said investigators determined the fire began in a ceiling fixture — probably in an unoccupied second-floor apartment. The building has since been renovated and reoccupied.