California City Residents Rally Behind Fired Chief

Residents of California City want answers as to why their Fire Chief, Justin Vincent, was recently shown the door.

So does his lawyer

A crowd gathered Friday night at Victory Baptist Church in hopes of getting a petition together.

“Chief Vincent was the best I have seen and I just don't see what happened in three weeks that would require him to be fired," said Michael Hurles, one of three dozen community members in attendance.

Vincent’s lawyer has offered a disturbing explanation for his client’s firing. He says the chief was told to look the other way when it came to enforcing fire codes on marijuana businesses. Vincent reported it to city officials, he said.

The chief also presented a report to the city council outlining fire dangers posed by the city’s pot industry.

“Because he continued to insist on enforcing the Fire Code and adhering to City policy and State law, Chief Vincent was unlawfully terminated by Interim City Manager Stockwell, who had held the interim City Manager position for less than three weeks when he terminated Chief Vincent. Prior to this Chief Vincent had only received outstanding reviews of his performance while running the City’s Fire Department. This termination was unlawful and Vincent will be pursuing legal action against the City,” his lawyer said.

“Following Chief Vincent’s report and refusal to allow exceptions to the Fire Code for marijuana businesses, he was subjected to retaliation by City Officials and Marijuana business owners/investors.

“Because he continued to insist on enforcing the Fire Code and adhering to City policy and State law, Chief Vincent was unlawfully terminated by Interim City Manager Stockwell, who had held the interim City Manager position for less than three weeks when he terminated Chief Vincent. Prior to this Chief Vincent had only received outstanding reviews of his performance while running the City’s Fire Department. This termination was unlawful and Vincent will be pursuing legal action against the City.”

In response to the calls for an explanation, city officials have only said that Vincent was terminated during his probationary period.

For the many residents who loved their chief, that is not enough.


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