Battalion Chief Brian Stoothoff, Ocala (Fla.) Fire Rescue

For his dedication to the fire service and the mission of public education, Stoothoff has been selected as a recipient of a Firehouse Magazine 2009 Heroism & Community Service Award.


For his dedication to the fire service and the mission of public education, Stoothoff has been selected as a recipient of a Firehouse Magazine 2009 Heroism & Community Service Award.

There was a time in Brian Stoothoff’s life when he thought he was going to be in business and accounting. He went to college to study those subjects and graduated with his degree.

“Then, I decided to do something much more exciting than that,” said Stoothoff, the son of an FDNY firefighter.

So, nearly 28 years ago, Stoothoff made a major life change and pursued firefighting as a career. He’s climbed through the ranks of the fire service as well as the emergency medical services as a paramedic.

He’s now a Battalion Chief with Ocala Fla. Fire Rescue with responsibilities for public education, public information and public relations.

In his role, one that he’s filled for the past three years, Stoothoff has excelled and been noticed by his peers in the Ocala fire department for the job he does.

For his dedication to the fire service and the mission of public education, Stoothoff has been selected as a recipient of a Firehouse Magazine 2009 Heroism & Community Service Award.

“I was nominated by my peers here at the Ocala Fire Department and I am honored to have been selected for the award,” Stoothoff said. “I can’t think of a greater honor.”

According to the document nominating Stoothoff, he has been responsible for arranging speaking engagements, fostering media relationships and training hundreds of local businesses to use fire extinguishers.

He also started a smoke alarm program for Ocala and secured a grant for more than $6,600 from Allianz Insurance Companies to provide the alarms. The program was reestablished with local businesses donating money in exchange for their names on coloring books.

In mid-April the Ocala department celebrated its 125th anniversary, an event that was attended by more than 5,000 people. During the event, which was spearheaded by Stoothoff, a parade was held, exhibitions were conducted and antique apparatus was displayed.

“It was a big event for the area,” Stoothoff said.

In addition to his work at special events, public education and PR, Stoothoff continues to respond to 911 calls and teaches at CentralFloridaCommunity College.

In his spare time he and his wife Alina, to whom he has been wed for 20 years, travel the country visiting fire departments and fire museums.

That travel has instilled in Stoothoff a desire to create a museum for Ocala. There, the department’s 1955 Seagrave 85-foot aerial could be displayed and preserved.

“The fire service is the best job there is,” Stoothoff said. “There’s just so much diversity in what you do. There’s no other job like it.”