Newport residents reporting firefighter widows scam

Posted April 02, 2014, at 7:07 p.m.

NEWPORT, Maine — Some criminals are trying to capitalize on the sympathy people in Maine are feeling for two Boston firefighters who died last week by calling residents and asking for donations to a bogus widows fund, Newport police Chief Leonard Macdaid is warning.

People are “getting solicitation calls for a fundraiser for the fire department and there is no fundraiser,” the police chief said. “It’s a scam.”

“They’re saying it’s for widows of fallen firefighters,” he added later. “It must be connected to what happened in Boston.”

Boston Fire Department Lieutenant Edward Walsh, 43, and firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, died on March 26, while battling a fire in a four-story apartment building in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Some 150 firefighters responded to the blaze and more than 17 firefighters were injured.

Newport fire Lt. Amanda Chretien said she received two calls early Wednesday from people after getting off the phone with the scam artists, and checked with the town manager, who also had received a call.

“They asked her for $1,500. She asked them to send her something and they hung up,” Chretien said of one local woman who avoided the scammers.

Macdaid told residents to always check out a solicitor and their company before donating to any fundraiser.

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