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A Exclusive: The shocking conclusion to our investigation of The Fire Critic. You won't believe what we have discovered.

Watch Part 1 of our exclusive investigative report

(Note: While I have apologized and given up my involvement in writing The Fire Critic, Willie Wines apparently is having a tougher time letting go. There is a brand new post attacking me and the people who read Click here. Personal note to Capt. Wines – Willie, it's over. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. Give it a rest.)

If you saw Part 1 of our investigation into the website you know that we have determined rather conclusively that there is no Lt. Rhett Fleitz in the Roanoke Fire Department. But it left open the question of who then is The Fire Critic (AKA Fireboy from Roanoke). Who has been writing the website all of this time?

The shocking answer is in the video above. Our lawyers at World Headquarters advised us strongly not to run this story. But we thought it extremely important that the truth finally come out.

"Amber", a self-described Fire Critic groupie, with her man/boy. But just who is this guy who claims to be a Roanoke fire lieutenant? Capt. Willie Wines, who took this picture, comes clean in the video above and it isn't a pretty picture.

Before you watch Part 2 we should share with you comments from two of our readers quite concerned (and rightfully so) about what we reported in Part 1. Here are the actual comments:

Comment 1:

… this kid (supposedly) from Roanoke has been on line how long? Nobody from there noticed he didn't exist? Child sociopaths turn into adult sociopaths and this kid needs help. Some motivation via Trademark infringement suits might get him the help he needs.

Comment 2:

The sad part is this kid is setting himself to destroy any chance of a career in the fire service, which to his credit he seems to love. Imagine doing the background check on this kid…

I couldn't agree with these readers more. This is all an outrage. And yes, maybe the authorities need to investigate.

As for any part I may have inadvertently played in helping further this ruse on an unsuspecting fire service web community, I offer the following message straight from my heart (and from Chuck in our PR department):

It is time to take some of my own advice on how an organization should handle bad news (come see me in St. Charles, Missouri for the full lesson and remember to use STATTER in the promo code for a discount).

You will notice I am telling you first about this issue before you hear it elsewhere. It became clear there was nothing to gain by waiting for some smartass reporter (like FossilMedic) to uncover this problem. It was only a matter of time before it leaked out. In addition to getting the news to you first, I am getting it out, getting it right and getting it behind me.

So, let me share with you the steps I am taking. I have ordered a thorough investigation into how this Fire Critic crisis occurred. We will be using a team of outside investigators to insure impartiality. We tried to get J. Gordon Routley to lead that time, but Chief Routley had a prior commitment. (Dave, I have checked the budget. We can't afford Routley, Chuck in PR.)

Instead, I have asked Benny, our 12-year-old neighbor who is really a whiz on the Internet, to trace the digital trail and provide us some answers on how this could go so terribly wrong. Benny has promised me he will get to it as soon as he and my son Sam are finished with their latest battle in Call of Duty. We will share Benny's findings and recommendations with you when they are available.

I will be checking myself into a 12-step program in the morning. (Dave, I have checked all over the country, there is no program for egotistical bloggers who make fun of short people … Chuck.)

In addition, I have spent time today with my spiritual advisor, the Firegeezer Gnome, who I am certain will help me find my digital way once again. (Dave, have you checked with Schumm on this? I really don't think the Gnome counts as an important religious leader … Chuck.)

Please be certain that I take full responsibility for my actions and the actions of my staff at Remember, the buck stops here. (Dave, fill in other clichés as needed … Chuck.)

To all of those I've hurt, I sincerely apologize. And I particularly regret dragging my family into this unfortunate situation. (Dave, both Hill and Sam have made it clear they will not be standing beside you if you decide to do a press conference, so I advise just go with the written statement … Chuck.)

Dave with his spiritual leader. Photo by Mike Legeros at Legeros Fire Blog.


Comments - Add Yours

  • ryankinsey

    But there are numerous pictures of  "Rhett Fleitz" with Willy Wines at FRI…. I don't understand.

    • Fire Critic

      You aren't the only one Ryan!

    • dave statter

      If you heard what Captain Wines said in our exclusive report, that is a high school kid who has been the face of I believe the boy’s parents travel with him during personal appearances at places like FRI.

  • Legeros

    I really didn't think you could do it, but it's obvious that you've now clearly exceeded the monthly amount of fun permitted for east coast fire bloggers. You're probably facing sanctions at the next meeting of the IAFB.

    Glad you're at least acknowledging your spiritual leader. But be careful, I think F.G. has been heavily influencing Firegeezer and his friends. Have you found yourself considering the purchase of a Corvette?
    ps- Can I have a groupie named Amber, too?

  • http://firegeezer,com Mike Ward

    Hey, more than my butt is "smart"
    I think Dave is becoming the Kevin Smith of bloggers
    …. or angling for a 2012 Edward R. Murrow RTDNA award 

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  • Dave L

    What did you do, threaten to expose Willie if he didn't play along?
    Have you no shame Dave……
    Still giggling .

  • GTRider245

    I saw the kid in the lobby at FRI…wanted to go say hello but he had a major fan following taking up his time.

  • Will

    This trilogy has taken a troubling turn. I met a young man in Baltimore at the Firehouse Expo who indentified himself as Rhett Fleitz. He was a handsome young man who came across as a dedicated firefighter. He even participated in the 911 Stair Climb. However, after the interview with Captain Wines and Dave Statter I am concerned. Captain Wines' reputation is beyond question. Dave Statter needs no validation. His work speaks for itself. Dave publishes the premier fire service website and has reported on some of our country's biggest stories. The Iran Contra hearings, the Capital vending machine embezlment scandal and the Watergate break in. (or was that Bob Woodward?) It's to bad the old tv show "In Search Of" isn't on. Leonard Nimoy could go in search of Rhett Fleitz. Sadly, as in the case of Amelia Earhardt and the grassy knoll shooter we may never know….

  • SFC

    OMG, both blogs were hysterical!  

  • Sharppointy1

    You guys r silly.  Love both sides of the story.  
    A "Statter911 troll".

  • Anonymous

    Now here's my question, who is Amber??? She is a hottie for an experienced woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lizard

    So sad that in retirement Dave has to invent his own controversary just to investigate it.   Don't worry Dave, a call has already been placed to Dr. Phil and he is on his way to help in your recovery…
    Too funny…

  • Scotty

    What made my day was seeing "Amber" looking great!!  A striking resemblance to another TV news person named Hillary, from my old days living in DC. 

  • FMCH

    Glad you came clean. I *KNOW* that you didn't want Charlie LaDuff  to do an expose!

    • dave statter

      Yes. Got to keep LeDuff away from STATter911 World Headquarters. I could see him now showing up in the lobby unnannounced demanding to see me.

  • Barry Greer

    Good investigative reporting, Dave.  Stop by to get the latest news on the new, hitech, Camden, New Jersey dispatch and response system guaranteed to save the taxpayers a ton of money without sacrificing public safety.

  • ukfbbuff

    Gee Dave
     I'm rather shocked at this announcement.
    On the site I blogged on (located in South Carolina) before it went "Off Line" and came here, The "Critc"  a couple of years ago seemed to "knock" the editor a couple of times, which upset the both of us.

    • dave statter

      This is where we will disagree. I am aware of those interactions. The fictional character known as Rhett Fleitz (FCKARF) didn’t knock the “editor” of that blog any more than I did. Like I did a number of times, FCKARF called the “editor’s” bluff on BS when the editor started bad mouthing other bloggersand the fire service media and telling everyone he is the only one to trust.

      Unlike FCKARF and me, when that “editor” got criticism he would wrap himself in the flag of fallen firefighters, blast people some more, declare the topic off limits and kill the comments that were critical. That has never happened on FCKARF’s site or mine. Sorry, but that is the truth.


  • Former Chief

    Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave!


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