DeSantis sounds off on termination of Orange County Fire Rescue battalion chief

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is weighing in on the firing of a former Orange County Fire Rescue battalion chief over vaccine reprimand concerns.

Stephen Davis lost his job Tuesday after joining the department in 2007.

"I think the firing was totally inappropriate. I think it’s ridiculous," DeSantis said Wednesday.

Gov. DeSantis said firefighters have protected their communities since the start of the pandemic and now they’re being tossed aside.  

"I don’t think you can put out a fire on Zoom," he said.

Davis lost his job in connection to the county’s mandate to discipline firefighters who won’t get vaccinated. His attorney says he refused to reprimand employees who were not vaccinated after finding errors in the list of people to be written up.

RELATED:  Attorney says Florida fire battalion chief fired over vaccine reprimand concerns

OCFR is only saying Davis refused to follow a direct order.

"He believes what he did was right," said Lt. Jose Cotti, a colleague, and friend to Davis.

Mayor Jerry Demings initially said county employees could lose their jobs if they don’t get vaccinated but later said firefighters would receive a written reprimand.

Cotti says it's weighing on personnel.

"A lot of the members are struggling right now. The stress is unbelievably high. Our job is already risky and stressful and it's made things worse," he explained.

Gov. DeSantis says Davis’ firing was illegal and his office will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

"We are going to be very soon rolling out I think some additions to protections we already have in the law to hopefully put all of this to bed," DeSantis said.

FOX 35 News reached out to Orange County Mayor Jerry Deming to see if he has any comment on the firing but did not hear back before this article was published.

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