Dominick and Alicia Rhodes have had blue tarps covering the roof of their Florida home and a firetruck in their front yard since Hurricane Michael devastated their rural inland county 10 months ago. The couple — who have three kids, maintain two full-time jobs and work as volunteer firefighters in their spare time — are now caretakers of one of the Mossy Pond Volunteer Fire Department fire engines because the firehouse where they once stored their trucks and equipment was obliterated by the storm. The three other fire engines and two brush trucks that service this part of the county, a rural area of about 14,500 people a little more than 40 miles inland from Panama City, Florida, rest in other volunteers' yards. Most of the eight members of the all-volunteer fire department balance full-time jobs and families. The lack of a firehouse complicates how they coordinate responding to medical calls, car accidents and wildfires in a part of Calhoun County where the closest ambulance and hospital is a 25-minutes away.
The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for two firefighters missing since Aug. 16 when they sailed out for a fishing trip from Port Canaveral.
The suspension began at sundown Thursday, according to Capt. Mark Vlaun, commander of the Coast Guard Sector in Jacksonville.
The massive search for friends Justin Walker and Brian McCluney, two off-duty firefighters, lasted six full days and covered over 105,000 miles when Coast Guard officials made the decision.
McCluney, a firefighter with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, grew up in Cocoa. Walker, a firefighter in Fairfax County, Virginia, grew up in Vero Beach.
“We have reached a point where our computer modeling and our ability to search a given location are no longer allowing us to search with any reasonable degree of probability of success,” Vlaun said.
He said time and the Gulf Stream current were working against rescuers as they searched an area the size of the state of Colorado.
One man was killed and another injured in a three-vehicle crash on Southwest State Road 200 Friday morning.
The Florida Highway Patrol did not release the name of the deceased, pending notification of family members.
Troopers on scene said a car was eastbound on SR 200 about three miles from the Citrus County line. Meanwhile, Ford F-150 pickup and a GMC sport utility vehicle were westbound.
For an unknown reason, the car veered left and into the westbound lane, troopers said. It sideswiped the SUV, causing the driving, a woman, to lose control of the vehicle. It overturned.
The car continued into the westbound lane, where it struck the pickup, which rolled over onto the passenger side.
Troopers said the driver of the car, identified initially only as a man, was killed. The man driving the pickup was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center in serious condition.
The driver of the SUV and her male passenger had minor injuries, troopers said.
Marion County firefighters on scene said they were dispatched at 5:58 a.m. and arrived at 6:04 a.m.
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Walton County Fire Rescue has a new tool to respond to emergencies.
They unveiled their new heavy rescue truck. It's the first one ever in Walton County.
Officials say they are glad to finally have this, and at a low cost to taxpayers.
Fire Chief Russell Beaty says this is important to have as Walton County continues to grow.
"We're seeing an increase in the number and the severity of automobile accidents and so that was a large force in this thing," said Beaty.
The chief also says this truck will help firefighters fight fires longer, as well as respond to high-speed and multiple vehicle accidents.
WJHG-TV News Channel 7
A man seriously injured in a motorcycle crash reunited months later with the Jacksonville firefighters who helped save his life.
On Thursday, Joshua Davis got to personally thank the Rescue 43 crew for its quick response, which trauma surgeons said he wouldn't have survived without.
Davis was riding his motorcycle on Normandy Boulevard near Bicentennial Drive about 10:30 a.m. May 27 when the crash happened.
Davis, 29, was seriously injured. He spent 45 days in critical care and had nearly 15 surgeries.
He was wearing a helmet, but still had a lot of brain bruising, so he has no memory of the crash.
He said he can't remember anything from about four days before the crash until after he got out of the intensive care unit.
WJXT-TV CBS 4 Jacksonville
A Seminole County woman is calling her husband a hero after their family was able to escape a fire that destroyed their home.
The fire happened on Tuesday before 7 a.m. at a mobile home on Alma Drive.
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The couple has 10 children together in a blended family ranging from a month old to 18 years old. Seven of them were inside the home when it caught fire.
Nicole Torres had just dropped off two of the children at school before pulling back up to her home five minutes later and finding it on fire.
She said her husband had just laid down when he woke up to find his kitchen in flames.
"He was screaming 'fire, fire' running from room to room trying to get all of our children out."
Her husband had injuries to his arms, feet, and shoulders from searching inside the home to get all the children out.
WFTV-TV ABC 9 Orlando