Fact Check

Man Arrested for Using a Flamethrower to Melt Snow

Fake news reports a Fargo man was arrested for clearing snow from his property with a flamethrower.

Published Feb 13, 2015

Claim:   A Fargo man was arrested for clearing snow from his property with a flamethrower.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2015]

Fargo man arrested clearing snow with a flamethrower. It has been linked multiple times by friends on Facebook. Can you please confirm or deny this rumour?


Origins:   A viral story claiming a man in Fargo, North Dakota, was arrested for clearing snow from his property with a flamethrower has been circulating online since at least 2013. One of its first iterations appeared on the "entertainment" web site FM Observer:

Local resident Todd Fox has been detained for reckless endangerment and illegal use of high-powered fire-breathing weaponry for attacking snow with his flamethrower. Fox reportedly became so fed up with the week-long blowing snow epidemic in his area that he decided to KILL IT WITH FIRE.

The neighborhood was treated with quite a show last night as Fox unleashed an inferno upon the mountainous snow palace that was his front yard. Neighbors to his immediate right and left noticed a bright orange cloud and could hear what they thought was puff the magic dragon spewing mayhem all over hell, which prompted one of them to notify police.

Fox stated that he was simply fed up with battling the elements and that he did not possess the willpower necessary to move four billion tons of white bull shit.

Police say that Fox surrendered his efforts immediately upon their arrival and that his front yard looked like a hydrogen bomb had gone off. They think he was just happy to be done with snow removal, even if it did mean a trip to jail.

In addition to being shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media sites, the above-quoted article has been republished by various web sites such as Neighbor Shame and LiveLeak. In January 2015 the story made another lap around the Internet when it was rehashed by the web site Rooster.

Despite these widespread claims, there is no truth to this rumor. A disclaimer on the site that originally published this story, FM Observer, states all articles on the web site are "farcical news and entertainment":

FM Observer provides farcical/satirical news and entertainment for the Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding area, as well as nationally. We are the greatest website you will ever visit in your entire human existence.

Last updated:   13 February 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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