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Volunteer Firefighter's Post About Gay Flag Sparks Outrage In Amador County

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – An Amador County volunteer firefighter is taking heat for the hate speech posted to Facebook about a store front in Placerville hanging a rainbow flag.

"We are talking about discrimination, racism, we are talking about so many horrible atrocities of man in this country," said Jessica Martin who owns The Crystal Ship.

The gay pride flag hangs above her shop, and it's now the center of the controversy.

"He said to, 'Take down that gay a-- flag and it should be replaced with an American flag or a confederate flag,'" she said in regards to the Facebook post.

Martin put the flag up in honor of Gay Pride month.

"We decided to leave it up because so many people reached out to us and thanked us for having it out to begin with and then this," she said.

Thursday afternoon, the firefighter checked into The Crystal Ship on Facebook, leaving behind the message.

"It does not comply with our mission statement and also our core values," said Fire Chief Dave Bellerive of Amador County.

He said appropriate action would be taken and the firefighter's actions don't reflect his views or the department's.

"It was completely inappropriate for one of our firefighters to be posting something that is derogatory in nature on the social media," Bellerive said.

While the apology means so much, it doesn't take away the hurt.

"We've been allies for as long as I could remember and it just hurts me personally as a human being," she said.

But as it turns out, after all the backlash the firefighter came forward with a change of heart and responded with this statement:

"I spoke too soon and out of anger that the American flag was not being flown on a holiday weekend. The past day I have learned a lesson and realized that tolerance goes farther than hateful speech. I have also learned that my words affect far more people than I realized. My comments and actions in no way reflect the beliefs of Amador County Fire and I sincerely apologize for my words and actions."

Martin hopes the firefighter thinks twice next time and is grateful for all the support that has come out of all the hate.

"It's just been unreal, and it makes me feel like we made the right decision in coming here and opening a store in Placerville," she said.

While the post has been taken down, Martin said the flag would not be and now plans to keep it up year around.

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