UAF students charged with impersonating firefighters

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Three University of Alaska Fairbanks students have been charged with impersonating firefighters and waking two female students up at 1:30 a.m. Oct. 9 to check their dorm room for a gas leak.

University police said the three donned firefighter gear and helmets they either owned or borrowed, randomly picked a room on the women's floor in Skarland Hall and told the two women they had to check their room for a gas leak.

The women complied and waited outside with one of the three fake firefighters while the other two used a fake wand to check for leaks, police said.

Police said the women were harmlessly touched on the eyelids to ''test'' them to see if they were exposed to gas. The inspection lasted no more than five minutes and the women returned to their room afterward.

The three faux firefighters would have gotten away with the prank but one of the women wanted to write a paper for one of her classes on the inspection, police said.

The next day she called University Fire Department for more information about the inspection, police said. That's when they realized the inspection was fake.

The fire department reported the incident to the police department, who discovered the phony firefighters' identities. People at Skarland Hall knew the three were volunteer firefighters elsewhere and had gear, police said. Nick Praznovsky, 18, of Fairbanks, Andrew Dalle-Molle, 19, of Kotzebue and Dustin J. Praznovsky, 18, of Anchorage were charged with impersonating a public servant, a Class B misdemeanor. They were cited and released. The women reported nothing stolen.

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