Multiple residents, firefighters, and community leaders made impassioned pleas to review the termination of Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Shane Alexander during a recent meeting of the Ocala City Council.
Ocala Fire Union President Richard Grubbs said that the news of Alexander’s firing came as a surprise and that he had the support of the “140 guys that are behind” him.
“He’s been a part of the community for 27 years as a fireman. He didn’t start in public works, he started in the fire department 27 years ago. He’s still here, he’s not going anywhere. He doesn’t want to go anywhere,” said Grubbs. He went on to suggest that any politicking that Alexander did behind closed doors was done so on behalf of “fighting for” firefighters.
“[Shane] is not just some guy we hired from out of town. This guy is our guy. We’re 140 guys behind him, 100%,” said Grubbs.
Samantha Hall, who says she is Shane’s sister-in-law, spoke about Alexander’s character.
“Shane is my brother-in-law who I have known for seven years. He is the most honest, ethical, and reliable person that I know,” said Samantha Hall, a Weirsdale resident that says she moved back to the area from Tampa because Ocala’s community was unique.
“We cannot be a place that affords to discard leaders like Shane,” said Hall. She ended her comments by asking that Ocala City Council members “give [Shane] the courtesy of reviewing his termination.”
Retired Assistant Fire Chief Brian Stoothoff said he had served with seven fire chiefs and that “Chief Alexander is among the finest.”
“I think it would be a travesty if [Shane] were not to continue in his career as Ocala Fire Chief,” said Stoothoff.