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Exclusive: Man arrested for impersonating a firefighter speaks to ABC 4 Utah

Construction crews in downtown Salt Lake are busy cleaning up the wreckage left over from a massive fire Sunday night.
 (Salt Lake County)
(Salt Lake County)
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Construction crews in downtown Salt Lake are busy cleaning up the wreckage left over from a massive fire Sunday night.

The fire investigators say the building that was slated to be the New House Apartments will have to be cleared of dangerous walls before investigators can get on scene and figure out if this was arson.

There’s also another investigation going on, Josh Murray was arrested last night accused of impersonating an officer.

ABC 4 Utah's Jason Nguyen got an exclusive interview with him after he was released.

"I never told any law enforcement, any fire official that I was with the fire department. In any way shape or form. I have my cert badge hanging out,” says Josh Murray.

Josh Murray says this is all a huge mistake. He was at home with his girlfriend and child when the fire started.

"When it got to 3 alarms I called and said hey is there anybody in route and before I even left the house it went to a four alarm," said Murray.

He said he called the Red Cross to see if they needed help. He showed up in Community Emergency Response Team gear. Firefighters were ok with that until he went into fire lines.

"This individual was in a restricted area. He gave false information to officers, that he was affiliate with the fire department when he in fact was not affiliated with the fire department," said Jasen Asay with the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

Fire investigators say he's been linked to other fires but won't call him a suspect in this one.

"Josh did you start the fire?" said ABC reporter Jason Nguyen. "No I did not. And as far as them trying to pin that all on me I have several witnesses that can put me here when that fire started," says Murray.

"This individual has been at other fires. A lot smaller scenes than the one we had last night. He has been there and offered to help the people involved," said Asay.

Murray was charged with impersonating an officer. In the past he has been charged with a weapons violation, domestic dispute and retail theft in April 2011. These are things a judge can consider in this case.

"I don't have the greatest past. I have done a lot of stuff I do regret and since then I have been doing everything to make right and do good by it," said Murray.

"When he is directing other people, other residents other on lookers and there were several last night. That adds a little bit to the chaos. It puts him and other people in danger," said Asay.

A danger that got him arrested.

"I never once told anyone fire department or law enforcement that I was with the fire department and right there that really upsets me cause that is them falsifying information," said Murray.

The Salt Lake City Community Emergency Response Team says Murray is a volunteer for them. But in this case he acted as a lone wolf and was not told to head to the fire.

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