Fire chief fired for allegedly not enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Orange County Fire Rescue battalion chief Stephen Davis was fired for allegedly not enforcing the county’s coronavirus vaccine mandate. 

The fire department said Davis violated a direct order to issue a reprimand to those on a list he was given. The list was said to contain firefighters who were not in compliance with the vaccine mandate.

“Mr. Davis was terminated on the grounds of failure to follow a direct order. The insubordination was the result of his refusal to issue disciplinary action on October 5, 2021,” Orange County Fire Rescue said in a statement. 

Instead of immediately firing a firefighter for violating the vaccine mandate, the mayor and fire union agreed that firefighters would first get two reprimands. Firefighters in the area must be fully vaccinated by the end of October and must have received their first shot before the end of September. 

The fire union representing Davis said he didn’t write everyone up on the list because Davis said the list was inaccurate, WFTV 9 reported

“He didn’t do what he was asked to do because he realized some people on the spreadsheet that he received were fully vaccinated and had religious exemptions at the time and he knew it was unlawful and violating state law,” firefighter Jason Wheat said.

In an email last week, the union said there was 60 reprimand issued incorrectly, according to the local outlet.

Davis is not vaccinated and is in a lawsuit to fight against the mandate but the union said his unvaccinated status is not why he was fired.

The firing marks a series of battles going on around the country with police and fire unions fighting against city vaccine mandates. 

Tags COVID-19 vaccine Firefighter Vaccine
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