Tweets about refugees, Muslims posted from fake account, Rocky Harbour fire department says

A volunteer fire department on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula is trying to figure out who started a Twitter account in its name and shared politically-charged messages.

The account, called Rocky Harbour Fire, was launched in November 2013, but on Wednesday, it was taken offline.

The fire department, which disavowed knowledge of the account, contacted Twitter with a request to have it removed. 

The department does not know who started the account, but was told that it originated from Ontario, and not in the Gros Morne National Park area that the department serves.  

In the last few weeks, the account — whose bio had included directions on how to contact the department for help — had tweeted material that some deemed xenophobic. 

One of the tweets featured an image of a Canadian flag, with a caption that said "It is not racist to disagree with Sharia Law, it is not racist to protect our borders, it is not racist to protect Canadian values."

Another post included a meme that questioned why the Trudeau government is supporting Syrian refugees in Kingston, Ont., while "cutting the pay of our men and women fighting ISIS." 

While many of the account's tweets involved actual Rocky Harbour Fire Department activities, and mirrored what was on its Facebook account, spokesperson Anthony Butt said the department had no idea who was posting the material. 

"I had no idea there was a Twitter account for the Rocky Harbour Fire Department," Anthony Butt told the Corner Brook Morning Show. "Neither did the chief, deputy chief or any of the executive."

'Not very nice remarks' 

Despite the fact that the account has existed for more than three years, Butt said he and other members only found out about it when contacted by CBC News on Tuesday.

"We have no idea where it came from or why it's there," he said. "It's a little frustrating."

While he hasn't talked to all 22 members of the volunteer service, he said he speaks for the chief and the department as a whole when he says the tweets don't represent what they stand for.

"We don't condone any political or religious information going out on any of our media [platforms]," he said. "They're not very nice remarks. I don't think they should be on there, and neither does the fire chief."