After 30 years of dedicated service to Gainesville neighbors and the City of Gainesville, Fire Chief Jeffrey Lane is retiring from Gainesville Fire Rescue (GFR), effective Sept. 30.
Chief Lane began his career with the city as a firefighter in 1990, and was promoted to progressively responsible roles as lieutenant, district chief and deputy chief of operations, among others, before being named fire chief in 2015.
“I’ve been really fortunate in a career spanning almost 40 years. I’m thankful to have been part of such a great department,” said Chief Lane. “It’s the good memories, the people I’ve known, and the lasting hope we’ve done some good that gives me a sense of satisfaction to take into the next chapter of my life,” he said.
As fire chief, Chief Lane was instrumental in securing GFR’s reaccreditation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2019, and in implementing the current Automatic Aid Agreement for mutual assistance with Alachua County Fire Rescue. He oversaw the construction of two new fire stations in Gainesville, and managed the addition of 50 new employees to the GRF workforce.
“Chief Lane has been a strong leader who’s helped Gainesville weather many storms, literally and figuratively,” said Gainesville City Manager Lee Feldman. “From hurricanes to the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his teams put the safety of our neighbors first and foremost. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Feldman.
Chief Lane earned a Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Services from the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning in 2014. He served the community as a member or chair of program advisory committees to programs including those at Santa Fe College Emergency Medical Services, University of Florida Fire and Emergency Services, and the Community Technical & Adult Education EMT/Firefighter program. He served as president of Gainesville Professional Firefighters Local 2157 from 1998 to 2011. While district chief, he was named Chief Officer of the Year in 2008, and received the Donald J. King Mentorship Award in 2011, among additional honors and citations.
Deputy Fire Chief JoAnne Rice, who will serve as interim chief beginning next month, worked with Chief Lane as a firefighter and alongside him for six years as GFR district chiefs.
“Out in the field, we complemented one another as district chiefs, and always backed each other up on emergency scenes and continued to support one another in the office as fire chief and deputy chief,” said Chief Rice. “He leaves GFR in a really good place as I step into the role as interim.”
The search for a permanent hire is ongoing.