Fire Department Warns Against Phony 'Inspectors'
Attention West Bloomfield and Tri-City area Businesses, we have been made aware of a scam that involves people impersonating firefighters or fire inspectors attempting to conduct "inspections" for a fee. Specifically, there has been a report in Fenton Township of an individual representing himself to a business as being from the "fire department" and was at the business to do an "inspection", he was also attempting to collect fees from the store for these services. The person did not show identification to the business. Fire Chief Ryan Voltz from the Fenton Township Fire Department indicated this person was not an employee of the Township.
Up until now this "scam" has been prevalent to cities surrounding Burbank in Los Angeles County California. Los Angeles County District Attorney, Steve Cooley has issued a consumer alert, warning local businesses of this potential activity. While we have not had a local incident, with this Michigan occurrence we are preemptively advising all of the businesses within the greater West Bloomfield area to be alert for these types of solicitations. Within West Bloomfield, Keego Harbor, Orchard Lake Village and Sylvan Lake, personnel from the West Bloomfield Fire Department conduct fire inspections.
The department's fire inspectors can easily identified as they are in uniform and carry photo identification. Inspectors will never solicit for an inspection fee. Locally, annual fire safety inspections and one follow up re-inspection are conducted at no cost. Businesses found to have violations that extend beyond those first two inspections, do become subject to a $75 fee for inspections extending beyond that point. These fees are never solicited for by fire inspection staff, the business found to be in repeat violation would be invoiced by the Township via U.S. Mail.
If a business has anyone show up for an "inspection" and they are unsure if the inspector is a legitimate employee of the West Bloomfield Fire Department, they should contact the Township's Fire Administrative Offices at 248-409-1505 or, dial 911. Should you experience a "suspect visit" and the individual quickly departs, dial 911 and if you can do so safety, write down the license plate number of the vehicle the person is using along with its description.