The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department (MFRD) announces Fire Service Captain Juanita Odom as the May 2021 Firefighter of the Month. Captain Odom began her career with MFRD in 1994 and currently serves as Lead Fire Investigator.
Throughout her career, Captain Odom has remained a stalwart piece of every crew, team, task force, and division in which she was a member. Her perseverance, continued education, and remarkable service have led her through a highly-decorated career. As such, Captain Odom has received several awards, ribbons, specialized titles, and commendations, including meritorious service, service recognition, rescue tech, military service ribbon, rescue technician, hazardous materials technician, and more.
She was certified as an Investigator through the Alabama Fire College in 2007. In 2011, Captain Odom joined MFRD’s Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigations Division. After attending a local police academy, Captain Odom was certified by the Alabama Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC), further positioning herself in criminal investigations. Accepting an assignment as MFRD’s On-Duty Investigator in 2012, Odom ironed-out her niche, focusing on fire investigations, currently serving as Lead Fire Investigator for Mobile Fire-Rescue.
While what the public sees is Captain Odom’s dedication to fire investigation, her teammates see her passion for helping others. Captain Odom has been recognized for her vital role in the MFRD’s Peer Support Team, serving as an advocate, an aid, an open mind, and a sympathetic heart. Her kindness and helping hands extend beyond just firefighters and first responders.
She is always there to provide comfort and support for others in need, even those being arrested for criminal acts. In 2021 alone, MFRD’s Investigations Division, spearheaded by Captain Odom, has investigated dozens of fire-related incidents, interrogated hundreds of witnesses, and arrested several individuals for arson crimes. Through it all, Odom maintains passion for the truth and compassion for victims and perpetrators alike.
For Captain Odom, understanding motives behind why a fire was intentionally set is just as important as discovering how fires started. Captain Odom is motivated by more than just capturing and arresting arsonists. She actively seeks to help them, if and when possible. Captain Odom is a servant who is committed to the safety of our community and all its citizens. Though her humble heart would never accept kudos or individual recognition, Captain Odom is most-certainly deserving of every superlative and worthy of praise.