Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III has announced his resignation in a letter to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Drozd was appointed Fire Chief of the OCFR in 2012.

“It has been my honor to lead the men and women of the Orange County Fire Department,” Drozd said in his letter to Demings. “I could not be more proud of their commitment to serve and carry forth their work with duty, respect, and integrity. They stand on the front lines ready to keep residents and visitors of Orange County safe in their greatest time of need.”

Orange County Chief Otto Drozd 

Drozd referenced the growth of the department in his resignation letter, which included an ISO-1 rating for the department, the highest rating a department can achieve.

“For more than six years we have worked diligently to improve service delivery and established OCFR as one of the leading fire organizations in the nation. Despite our progress, there is still work to be done because real achievement is attained through sustained effort. While I have determined it is time to step aside, I am confident in our firefighter’s ability to continue to meet the fire and emergency challenges of our community. It has been my honor and privilege to serve our community and the outstanding men and women of OCFR.”

Drozd began his career with the Hialeah Fire Department in 1986. During his tenure at HFD, he progressed through all ranks from firefighter to Deputy Chief before becoming Fire Chief in 2001.

Throughout his career, Drozd was an active member of the department’s special operation teams and served as a paramedic.

In 2009, Drozd became Fire Chief of the El Paso Fire Department and led the El
Paso Fire Department to become one of only five Metro Departments to achieve international accreditation and an ISO Class One rating.

In 2017, under Chief Drozd’s leadership, Orange County Fire Rescue was awarded
the Congressional Fire Services Institute award for excellence in Fire-Based EMS
and improved its ISO rating from a Class 4/8b to becoming one of the largest
departments in the nation to receive a Class One ISO rating while maintaining
International Accreditation.

Demings thanked Drozd for his service and nominated his replacement in a letter to the County Commission.

 “We appreciate Chief Drozd’s service and work on behalf of the citizen’s of Orange County, and wish him well in his future endeavors. The departure of Chief Drozd provides me the opportunity to select the next fire chief. We are very fortunate to have the best candidate to fill the position in-house in our very own Deputy Chief Jim Fitzgerald! Chief Fitzgerald has almost 40 years of exemplary service with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department. He knows every aspect of the department and is intimately familiar with this community and understands this organization.”
According to the letter, Demings will nominate Fitzgerald at the May 7th Board of County Commission meeting and he will start on May 4th as acting chief to smooth the transition.


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