Florida Chief Resigns and Department Under Investigation

A fire chief in Florida has resigned amidst an investigation into his having allowed two relatives and a family friend to serve as volunteer firefighters despite their having been convicted felons.

Fire Chief Brad Hall of the Mexico Beach Fire Department had been on administrative leave pending investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Hall’s nephew, Levi Wilson,23, was convicted of aggravated battery in 2009; his sister-in-law Stephanie McDonald Wilson,41, was convicted of cocaine possession and organized fraud;  and firefighter Michael Brunson,55, who is Stephanie McDonald Wilson’s boyfriend, was convicted of drug dealing and grand theft.

The members are also under investigation for having falsified run sheets and attendance records in order to receive compensation of incidents they did not respond to.

Mexico Beach City Administrator Chris Hubbard has been granted authority over the fire department and a new hiring policy with background checks has been made mandatory.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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