Five Ocala rescue members recognized as hometown heroes

Five Ocala Fire Rescue members were honored at fire station one in celebration of the 3rd Annual Hometown Heroes Awards presented by Hires-Baxley Funeral Home.

One firefighter, two fire equipment operators, and two captains were recognized for their efforts in resolving the emergencies they responded to.

Firefighter Shantelle Nichols was honored for his courageous actions searching for occupants in a home threatened by flames from a vacant structure on fire next door,  despite being while off-duty.  Nichols not only assisted his teammates before their arrival but also remained on the scene to operate a fire hose and help as needed. 

Captain Jesse Blair was recognized for his role in Ocala Fire Rescue's fight against Covid-19.  His methods proved vital in decreasing exposure to the virus for citizens and responders.

Captain John Toms, Fire Equipment Operators Ryan Brady and Jagger Maguire were honored for their life-saving actions during an apartment structure fire, safely evacuating two senior citizens from the building engulfed in heavy smoke.  For their actions that helped save two lives, all three received Act of Valor Awards.

“We are overjoyed for each of the team members recognized today,” said Public Information Officer Ashley Lopez. “Because we know that they would repeat their actions without hesitation, time, and time again.”