Founder of firefighters' biker club poses with Hells Angels

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(video)---B.C.’s public safety minister says he has serious concerns about a new motorcycle club of Lower Mainland firefighters called Florian’s Knights that has been attending events with the Hells Angels.

“This is just disturbing on so many levels,” Mike Farnworth said after Postmedia obtained a photo of a founding member of the Knights posing with three Hells Angels.

Farnworth said firefighters face incredible danger on the job, made worse in recent years by “a rise in fires in homes where drug labs are located.”

“And many of those labs allegedly have links to the Hells Angels. So I find it more than a bit disturbing that you’ve got a motorcycle gang composed of firefighters associating with Hells Angels who may be making their job even more dangerous than it already is.”

Burnaby firefighter Nick Elmes, right, with members of the Hells Angels

Farnworth said he has asked his staff to look into the issue and report back to him.

The Knights are wearing a three-piece patch on the backs of their leather vests, meaning they sought permission from the Hells Angels when they were forming, retired police biker expert Brad Stephen told Postmedia.

Three-piece ‘patch’ of new firefighters biker club called Florian’s Knights.

Stephen, who was a firefighter before his long career with the Vancouver Police Department, said it’s disturbing that some firefighters want to associate with Hells Angels.

“What the Florian’s Knights have chosen to do is obviously seek permission and they’ve received permission from the Hells Angels to wear a three-piece patch and they go out of their way to associate, party, ride, commiserate with members of the Hells Angels and with members of support clubs of the Hells Angels,” Stephen said Monday. “In my opinion, that is a very disturbing thing.”

The Knights contact person, Nick Elmes, is a Burnaby firefighter, as are two others in the new club. There are also two New Westminster firefighters and a retired Vancouver firefighter.

Burnaby Fire Chief Joe Robertson said he also has concerns about the Knights and has met with the RCMP to discuss the issue.

“The city and the fire department do not condone any association of our members with the Hells Angels. We support the good work that all the rest of our firefighters do in the community,” Robertson said Monday. “This reflects really poorly on the good work that everybody else does.”

Some of the Knights have been wearing their vests, known as “colours” on their way to work, Robertson said.

“I conveyed my displeasure because they were riding to work in their biker colours and we have a legal opinion that says that they can actually do that,” he said.

“There are concerns. I share the same concerns that the police have.”

Elmes, who said he is a founding member of the Knights, said in an interview Monday that the club formed to raise money for charity and that no one should be concerned.

He admitted the Knights have been at events with Hells Angels but said those events were open to anyone to attend.

As for the photo of him with three Hells Angels, including Kelowna president Damiano Dipopolo, Elmes said he is a childhood friend of Dipopolo.

“I can’t help that they are at the same ride we are at,” Elmes said.

Elmes said the Knights advised the Hells Angels that they were starting their new club.

“I told them what I was planning on doing. I gave the whole motorcycle community a warning on what was going on before we started flying our colours,” Elmes said, adding that he asked the HA: “Do you have any issues with us doing this?”

Another social media comment obtained by Postmedia has a member of the HA-aligned Devil’s Army biker club in Campbell River thanking the Florian’s Knights for their recent hospitality.

Elmes said if the public has any concerns about his group “it is because the media and the cops are putting absolute lies in people’s heads.”

“I don’t think there should be a concern. Everyone is just riding, doing their thing. This isn’t Sons of Anarchy, where guys wearing their vests are committing crimes and murdering people,” he said of the TV show about a fictitious biker gang in California. “This is just guys on their bikes riding at charitable events.”

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