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Former Firefighter Speaks Out About Sex, Booze, and Corruption Inside Defunct Vol. Fire Station, Says Lives Were at Risk

HERNANDO – For nearly three years RNRF received dozens of tips regarding corruption, inappropriate activity, and misappropriation of funds within the now-defunct Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department. Most of the complaints were either unconfirmed or witnesses were just too afraid to go on the record. But that’s all changed now that the “three chiefs” are facing fraud charges and are on administrative leave from their respective departments.

We spoke to Ross Lerohl who volunteered with the department for nearly a year in 2014 and he says it was nothing short of a madhouse. Lerohl tells RNRF that on multiple occasions Freda would come to the fire station “hammered and have sex with random women.” Lerohl remembers one occasion when the entire fire station filled with smoke. After quick search, he discovered a roll of toilet paper burning in the day room and that’s when Freda started spraying him and other firefighters with water.

Lerohl says allegations that Freda spent the department’s slush fund on cigarettes, gas and booze are all true, but every time he would complain, Freda would threaten to fire him. But Lerohl says there were more serious issues that put the lives of Hernando Beach residents at risk and that’s what ultimately led to his resignation.Lerohl claims there wasn’t a certified fire engine driver available on every shift and that many times they had to call a driver from his residence to first travel to the fire station to drive the fire engine. Lerohl says response times were over 15 minutes on many occasions and that it was just too much for him to ignore.

There are also allegations that Freda was having sex with a 17-year-old girl but that has not been confirmed and the Sheriff’s Office says there are no other investigations outside the Economic Crimes Division.

There is speculation that County Commissioner Wayne Dukes covered up the alleged illegal activities but Dukes told RNRF during a brief interview on Friday, “I had no involvement or control over that station, other than to provide organizational advice.”

We asked a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office if they were investigating anyone else who may have been involved in a potential cover up and she provided the following statement, “The ECON Sergeant advised that we won’t be able to respond to any of the other questions, as not to compromise the investigation.”

Some say the timing of their arrests is suspect because of the upcoming midterm election and the ongoing feud between Sheriff Al Neinhuis and Commissioner Dukes, but those sources have refused to go on the record at this time.

One source tells RNRF that Freda called in sick just days before his arrest, claiming that he broke his nose in a car accident, however, the Florida Highway Patrol has no record of an accident involving David Freda. That same source tells RNRF that Freda was actually involved in a physical altercation at ICON’s Gentlemen’s Club in Hudson, but that information has not been confirmed.

We will continue to bring more on this story as it develops.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.

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  • I knew Freda years ago personally. He is a train wreck. I was in shock that he was a Chief!!!! None of this surprises me. What surprises me is that it took this long to unfold.

    Thursday, 5 October 2017, 10:24 am
  • BAHAHA!!! Well you get what you put out. Unfortunately, none of the money will ever be paid back to the county. 3 regulars out of business. Strippers have it hard these days. LMFAO.

    Wednesday, 4 October 2017, 7:01 am
  • What a bunch of losers!!

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 11:59 pm
  • Dig deeper. I can bet you dollar to donuts that Dukes is at the bottom of this scum pond. He has lived in Hernando Beach for years & has had a personal relationship with Freda for a long time. I know higher ups knew what was going on & chose not to do anything. More arrests need to come. I’d like to see a few of these corrupt BOCC’s in silver braclets!

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 8:50 pm
  • Apparently some of the Firemen were very anxious that they would have to go out on a real fire call and used sex and free alcohol to calm themselves down. The revelation that most times no one on duty knew how to drive the fire truck is a knee slapper.

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 12:51 pm
  • YES TOM! KEEP IT COMING! AND THANK YOU SIR! W.T. FREAK! are ya freak’in kidding me wow! by the way why or
    how come any of you that knows any of this who have spoken on here did or didn’t ………… ever drop the ball on this??? just curious!!!

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 11:13 am
  • Ross wasn’t it you that got firef from the dept or “asked to leave” due to the fact that you were bringing girls over at 3 am drinking beer with them… hmmm

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 10:23 am
  • Go back and watch BOCC meetings where Dukes was confronted about audit records for HBVFD and he told the public they had the records and they had a plan for ALS. Go back and listen to the email from Dukes read into the record stating HB will never have ALS and a certain person would cause HB to lose their fire services’. Dig deep Sheriff. This goes much higher up than three bumpkins.

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 8:44 am
  • I love that the hard working men and women of this county have to deal with the reputation these men are putting out there. Freda working for Brooksville now giving them a bad name along with Hernando Beach and all of the people who think these scum bags are associated with Hernando County Fire Rescue. No one is perfect but give yourself a bad name on your own time and your own dime!!!!

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 7:03 am
  • I am certified ff and volunteerEd there 4 years. Never witnessed any of these allegations. And the toilet paper roll is clearly a gag firefighters and police do to each other to bust balls. Just like baby powder bombs in lockers. Sounds like a witch hunt

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 4:12 am
    • witch hunt. lol. they made their beds now they can lay in them. good riddance to these arogant SOBs

      Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 12:04 pm
    • No I don’t believe you did since this has been common knowledge amongst all the fire rescue staff in Hernando County. Multiple complaints have been made for years and have fallen on BOCC members ears who have chosen to ignore the allegations due to friendship. Whenever anyone complained formally they were fired, which meant losing retirement funds. Respected firefighters not only refused to volunteer their, but disliked even having to work on a call that involved HBFD.

      Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 6:07 pm
    • I have been a firefighter almost 20 years. I am in for the firehouse pranks. The toilet paper issue was beyond a prank. It was 3 am the on duty crew was asleep Freda and his flavor of the month came in they light numerous rolls of toilet paper on fire and throw them into the day room where people where sleeping. The one roll hits a air mattress that was on the floor and instantly burns a hole it in. The room filled with smoke. As a career firefighter if I did this in my house I would be severely disciplined if I was lucky. But I would have more the likely been fired.

      Thursday, 5 October 2017, 11:13 pm
  • It’s crazy because it was also rumored that the use of marijuana was involved as well. What a shame, I’m sure it was all worth it…not !

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 3:03 am
  • Couldn’t have simply offered them frankincense and myrrh………no one thought of that I’ll bet……….amateurs.

    Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 12:24 am
  • Belonged to a different vol fire dept in diff county. Sad to say same crap went on there but place went bankrupt and quietly closed. Woulda been nice to have had this tech back then so ppl would’ve gotten what they deserved. So nice to see some positive come. Volunteers must come forward tell what u know. The residents the county deserve to know. Clear your conscience it’s the right thing to do.

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 10:03 pm
  • I was a member of HBVFD for years and never did anything illegal. So it’s disheartening when I see so many people jump on this band wagon. Here’s my two cents, the gentlemen that you cited in your article isn’t lying. That stuff happened. Everyone that was there for the right reasons was placed into a very difficult situation. We were told our fire certifications could be taken away and so wasn’t till later that we found out that wasn’t true. Just a way for them to keep us under their thumb. My only problem with all of this is the gentleman you cited in your article. I remember him perfectly. He wasn’t a member for long. He didn’t get “fired” for the reasons you portray. He was asked to leave because he refused to train. Refused to put on gear, and couldn’t physically do the job. He was a hazard to the firefighters and the members of the community. Not because of his morals but because of his lack of effort and physical performance. I’m glad all the dirty things are coming to light. Unfortunately, the gentleman cited is telling second hand stories. They happened, but not to him. Furthermore, if it was such a life safety hazard why did he wait yeas to write a letter. Years! Hopefully they get their ducks in a row so they have a case.

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 8:33 pm
    • I was also a member at HBVFD for almost a year. The Allegation about the toilet paper being thrown into the day room is accurate. There was approximately 5 or 6 of us trying to sleep in the day room that night, when we we’re woken up by the sound of the pass device going off and then waking up to a room full of smoke caused by a roll of toilet paper. Also about having a driver, we rarely had a driver. We normally had to wait between 5-10 minuets for someone to get there. Now that wasn’t most cases because from time to time we had a driver there. Also the buying cigarettes and buying drinks is true. Whoever you are let’s see if you remember all those rockstar drinks from the little store down the road? Remember those? Now there was times we would go in on drinks and etc.. also I remember a time we’re the white Ford Explorer that freda had he was using it for his own personal vehicle while spending the county’s money. Now the allegations you spoke about of the person that was cited in the article I agree with some of that, but only to an extent. Just an FYI most people that know things about the situation are trying to protect there selfs and sense the 3 of those people have been arrested it makes it much easier to talk about. And I bet you know somethings that you haven’t told either. Because everyone that was there for at least 6 months or so back about 3 years ago knows something!

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 10:55 pm
  • wow what clowns and Dukes is probably lying as he always does. I wonder if Freda and Commisoner “Slick”Nick Nicholson fought over a stripper at icons. lol…. unbelievable

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 7:49 pm
    • lololololol!!!!!!! These swine need to go down hard, need to be made examples of. This is OUR hard earned money they squandered. I’d like to see them do real time for this.

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 8:58 pm
  • All true and this is just the tip of what went on there.

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 6:55 pm
  • The drunken environment and the use of fire department resources for personal use by members of the department has lasted much longer than believed within HBVFD. Back in 1993 during the “No name storm” I personally witnessed members of the department take home county owned generators after the storm for personal use, then a couple days afterward, I also witnessed two high ranking officers of the fire department driving a staff vehicle while they were visibly intoxicated. The HBVFD has always had a reputation within neighboring fire departments for being a bunch of drunks yet nothing was done about it even though top officers of the county fire department knew full well what was going on. The reports of Dukes covering up for the shenanigans within HBVFD needs to be looked into much deeper.

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 6:34 pm
    • Dukes is into this up to his beady little eyes!
      It will be fun to see what the Sheriff and Prosecutor will do.
      Stand by your words Gentlemen!

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 8:08 pm
  • The “RATS” are abandoning the sinking ship. It’s every man for himself!

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 5:54 pm
  • Once again everything in this article is true. If only the whole situation was coming out to the public….. Ross tells no lies. There’s so much more that will come out eventually if more volunteers come forward and talk about what else happened and the threats that they received……..

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 5:49 pm
    • Were you a volunteer?

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 7:23 pm
  • GREAT REPORTING Tom! Stay on this. This is the kind of stuff the residents of Hernando Co. need to know…especially come election time. Keep it coming buddy. 😉

    Monday, 2 October 2017, 5:35 pm
    • YES

      Monday, 2 October 2017, 9:01 pm

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