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Clay County firefighter fired

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Updated: 10/15/2013 7:52 pm
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. -- A high-ranking firefighter was fired after county leaders say he used county equipment for his own gain.

Russell Benes was a battalion chief with Clay County Fire and Rescue. He spent 23 years on the job. Last month he was fired. According to documents we obtained through a public records request, Benes was using county equipment to benefit himself.

The documents detail a long investigation that started back in May. The complaints include firefighters leaving Station 22 multiple times to go to Benes' home and helping him with "various activities." One included putting sand bags out during a storm.

In his termination letter, the county manager said it was a "inopportune call for service...." She goes on to say it could have "delayed an emergency response and or required the redeployment of personnel from other locations."

The county manager's letter states Benes was verbally abusive, used profane language, even had "vulgar conversations about displaying indecent photographs of spouses and girlfriends."

Benes is appealing the decision. He did not want to say much when we spoke with him Monday night. He only said there was more to the story.
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