I don't think that this story was actually "made-up".
I have some mis-givings about the way it was reported though.
Most Fire-fighters that I know, know the difference between Current and Voltage.
And I'm not going to engage in a Trans-Tasman tirade about Aussie FF's either.
Clothing of these types can build up quite an appreciable charge.
I'm actually wearing a Nylon T-shirt at the moment, and aside from being moderately uncomfortable, it gives a huge static charge in dry weather.
I touched the Stainless sink-bench here this morning and I swear I saw a blue spark jump from my hand to the sink (which is bonded to Earth) and a bit of a slight crackle.
Now, combine that with wool, wool(Or sheeps fur, if you like Sven
) is quite popular down here for garments.
With them two materials rubbing together,
It would take no time at all to build up a good charge.
BTW Alan a Static Field Meter is calibrated in kV.
We don't carry them on our pumps, the nearest thing to that that we would have is a Modiewark HV Line Indicator, that measures up to 66kV.