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Bizarre: Volunteer fire department chief arrested

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico authorities arrested a volunteer fire department chief after he called in multiple police and fire agencies for a brush fire and falsely claimed people were trapped in buildings.

A spokesman for the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office says 53-year-old Velarde Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eddie Velarde was arrested and booked into jail Tuesday for disorderly conduct.

The sheriff's office says Velarde was calling for a mass evacuation when none was needed. Velarde allegedly claimed people were trapped when officials say the fire was nowhere near any structures.

Sheriff's officials say the only way to stop Velarde was to arrest him.

The Santa Fe New Mexican says the sheriff's office took over the scene and a small grass fire was put out within minutes.

Velarde was released Tuesday evening.


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