Alabaster honors life of firefighter Jamie McClain

By WILLIAM MARLOW | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER — Emotions were high on Monday, Aug. 23 as the city of Alabaster paid tribute to the life of firefighter Jamie McClain.

During a regularly-schedule city council meeting, Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield and council members honored McClain as they christened the city’s Fire Engine 16 into service.

“This will help serve the residents of West Shelby, but it’s also an opportunity for us to honor the McClain family,” Brakefield said. “The McClain family has meant so much to the city of Alabaster through their generous service, and I’m very proud at this time to be able to say we’re going to give this in honor of Jamie.”

Due to a surplus in the city’s fire safety equipment, Brakefield said that the city was able to donate the fire engine to the West Shelby Fire and Rescue District, where McClain had worked for nearly seven years.

McClain, 33, had served as a captain for the West Shelby Fire Department, but his roots ran deep throughout Alabaster. McClain’s brother, Cory, is a firefighter with the Alabaster Fire Department and their father, Jim, served multiple terms on the Alabaster City Council.

However, McClain tragically passed away in April, being survived by his wife of five years, Amy, and their two children, Danielle and Matthew.

Following his death, the city of Alabaster had initially planned on auctioning off the older fire engine in order to accommodate space for the city’s newer fleet of emergency vehicles, but Alabaster Fire Chief Timothy Love recommended the firetruck be phased back into service in McClain’s honor.

“I thought it was a great idea because it’s going to be able to be used to benefit the West Shelby Fire Department and protect the area’s residents. It just seemed like a good match all the way around to be able to donate that fire engine to them,” Brakefield said.

As part of the event, the fire engine was unveiled to the McClain family as well as members of the Alabaster and West Shelby Fire Departments.

“It was very emotional because any time you lose someone so young, it’s unexpected,” Brakefield said. “It has been just tough on the family so it was nice to see them appreciate it, but nothing is going to replace Jamie. This was just a very small token that we could do.”

McClain’s parents, Jim and Bonnie, described the tribute as heart-touching, and said Jamie’s influence stretched throughout Shelby County.

“We are so thankful to the city of Alabaster for such a generous gift,” they said. “Jamie had so many friends in Alabaster and we are just now finding out how widespread his influence was felt. Jamie is smiling down for sure.”

The McClain family described Jamie as having a passion for hunting, fishing and everything outdoors. Jamie was also a hard-core Alabama football fan.