MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Less than a month after his son died in a Fourth of July boating accident, a retired Miami-Dade firefighter is taking on County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

That firefighter wants to start a petition drive to recall the mayor.

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“A few years ago, we recalled a mayor for squandering money on a stadium,” said Jack Garcia.

Now, Garcia wants to recall Gimenez.

Garcia told CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez, that Gimenez is negligent for not utilizing two sophisticated fire rescue boats owned by Miami-Dade County.

The boats were not in service the night Garcia’s son, Andy, along with Victoria Dempsey, Kelsie Karpiak and Jason Solemani lost their lives in the dark waters of Biscayne Bay.

“We need 50,000 signatures and I am going to start next week,” said Garcia. “I’ve got lots of support behind me.”

Garcia is a former fireboat captain, who says a plan by the county to use a 28-foot open fisherman for water emergencies instead of the two fireboats currently not in service is putting even more lives at risk.

“Their plan is good for one thing and that is body recovery and I could have used it when I went to pick up my son the next day,” Garcia said.

The mayor and the firefighters union have been battling over staffing of the fireboats with neither side apparently willing to give in.

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When asked about Garcia’s plan to recall the mayor a spokesman said, “This is the first we hear of this. It’s inappropriate to comment until we have more information.”

As the fireboats remain idle, Garcia responded to speculation his son might have been drinking on the night of the accident.

“I don’t know that, but it would have been out of character for him,” said Garcia.

“I know as much as anybody else, but I’m sure it’ll all come out.”

Watch the report, click here.


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Eliott Rodriguez