25-year Orange Co. Fire Rescue veteran retires amidst theft allegations

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned a nearly 25-year veteran of Orange County Fire Rescue retired before he could be disciplined.

Lt. David Provau submitted his retirement, effective Friday, but it came after he was accused of taking a bulletproof vest without permission.

Because Provau retired, taxpayers will still be on the hook for paying his benefits.

The 51-year-old firefighter cited reasons in his personal life for the decision to retire after nearly a quarter-century with the county.

When asked if Provau was going to be fired if he didn’t retire, Chief Otto Drozd said, "I can't make that assumption because he hadn't received the advantage of full due process."

In January, the county purchased 12 bulletproof vests at $650 each. The vests are meant to be a lifesaving piece of equipment for firefighters responding to a mass shooting scenario. 

Records show Provau took one of the vests home without telling anyone, which eventually landed him in hot water with the department.

"It's not for personal use," said Drozd.

When questioned, Provau said he was using the vest for research to write a grant and returned it.

Drozd told Channel 9 Provau had recently been demoted but retired two days before his hearing into the theft allegations.

Drozd said there will be no consequences for his actions and Provau will receive full benefits.

"We're putting things into place to send the message this behavior won't happen going forward," he said.