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'Anomaly' in records leads to 2 Marco Island fire officials resigning; third on leave

Marco Island Fire Dept vehicle
Posted at 1:05 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 06:21:38-04

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — City officials say an inquiry has been launched into "apparent discrepancies in fire prevention and inspection records."

According to a statement released by the city Thursday, the city's fire marshal, John Harris, and inspectors Steven Allen and Adrian Garcia-Casals were placed on administrative leave effective Tuesday, April 5.

“The first thing that came up, one of the administrative people were doing work in the fire inspection system and noticed what I’ll call an anomaly,” said Mike McNees, City Manager.

That anomaly led to more questions from the city, and officials started to dig.

“It looked like an inspection showed up completed, but we couldn’t document the inspection had actually been done,” McNees said.

McNees couldn't tell us much because the city is still in the early stages of gathering information- but he did say this had to do with the annual fire inspection.

Former fire marshal John Harris and inspector Steven Allen resigned after being placed on leave. Another inspector, Adrian Garcia-Casala, was also placed on leave but he has not resigned. None of the men could be reached for comment.

“We’ve put some of the people on administrative leave because you can’t do the inquiry while people are still involved or while they are still in the system,” McNees said.

We reached out to the Marco Island Fire Rescue's chief and deputy chief, but neither could be reached for comment.

McNees said if there is anything strange with the city's records, the city will get to the bottom of it.

“In terms of these specific inspections, we will be engaging with a private contractor to make sure that process continues, so we can still do the inspections that we need to do,” McNees said.

Marco Island Police Department is currently leading the inquiry in consultation with the State Attorney’s Office.

An investigation is ongoing. A third-party company is ensuring that fire inspections are completed in the meantime.