CNN joins in debunking conspiracy theory of Edmonton fire jacket at Ukraine bombing

A conspiracy theory claiming that a bombing in Lviv, Ukraine was actually a fire in Edmonton has been further debunked in a CNN article.

It started when a CNN live report on Saturday showed one firefighter at the scene had “EDMONTON” written on the back of his jacket.

Ontario native Daniel Dale fact checked the story Monday, after several social media posts claimed that CNN was faking a story about Russian airstrikes.

As CTV News Edmonton first reported Sunday, the explanation is a simple one: local organization Firefighter Aid for Ukraine sends used fire-fighting equipment overseas, including jackets.

Project Founder Kevin Royle has been hauling gear to Ukraine for nearly 10 years. He said a fellow firefighter called him after seeing the jacket on CNN.

“I wasn’t surprised, cause we get images all the time of firefighters sending us, ‘Hey look, we were in this fire and we were wearing your gear and it was awesome. Check this out. We used your tools for this or that.’ So I wasn’t surprised,” Royle told CTV News Edmonton.

“Then all the conspiracy theories started coming in and you just kinda roll your eyes. But thanks to them, we got all this media coverage.”

Local professor Timothy Caulfield shared the corrected story, and called this a case of “doubt mongering.”

“I think the first website that started spreading this rumour was called End the Illuminati. So that gives you a sense of how credible the origin story for conspiracy actually is. But then it starts to take off,” he told CTV News Edmonton.

Caulfield believes some shared the conspiracy theory unwittingly, but said it’s likely the originators of the false posts made them to spread distrust of “mainstream media” and sow doubt about Russia’s invasion.

Donations to Firefighter Aid for Ukraine can be made online.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Matt Woodman and Adam Lachacz

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