Florida News

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Pilot dead after small plane crash in Ocala, fire rescue units say

PHOTO: A pilot is dead after a small airplane crashed in Ocala on Wednesday, rescue units said. According to Marion County Fire Rescue, units were dispatched to Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala at 10:31 a.m. on Wednesday. A 911 caller told them that a small aircraft crashed while attempting to land. He noted that the pilot was inside the cockpit. They said that arriving crews found the small plane upside down with the pilot inside. The pilot was declared deceased at that time. They added that firefighters mitigated a fuel leak on the airplane, securing it until the plane wreckage was removed. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
WOFL-TV Fox 35 Orlando

Electrician dies after being electrocuted in Fort Lauderdale attic

An electrician was found dead in a Florida home after being electrocuted, an autopsy report read. According to the Broward Medical Examiner's Office, 78-year-old Patrick Ferracano was found in the attic of a house in Fort Lauderdale on Monday. Fire crews responded to the home after the owner tried to communicate with Ferracano but didn't get a response, according to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan. The homeowner told investigators Ferracano was "a longtime acquaintance" who had been working in the attic for several hours. Workers cut a hole in the ceiling to get Ferracano's body, Gollan said. Ferracano was pronounced dead at the scene. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating the incident.
WBBH-TV NBC 2 Fort Myers

Holt gets funding for new fire station building

For 42 years, a cinder block building constructed by the people of Holt has served as home to the community’s volunteer fire department. The structure has seen better days. It’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter and there are places in the walls where you can see light from outside shining in, said Jim Connors, the chairman of the five-member Holt Fire District Board of Commissioners. “The problem we get is rats can get in, and rats love to chew on wires,” Connors said. “Our fire trucks taste especially good to them.” Gov. Ron DeSantis served notice to the rodent population of Holt on Monday that they will no longer be allowed to hinder the good work of the 23 brave men and women of the Holt Fire Department. The state budget he signed included $813,000 to be used for construction of a new community fire station.
Northwest Florida Daily News - Metered Site

Pinellas County police, fire departments prepare for surge in at-home fireworks displays

Communities all across Pinellas County have been forced to cancel popular Fourth of July fireworks displays in light of the easy transmission of COVID-19 in large crowds. While communities have nixed municipal displays, a move by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year has paved the way for individuals to purchase fireworks legally. In past years, individuals could purchase fireworks only by signing a waiver stating they would use them only for frightening away birds for agricultural work and fish hatcheries. With the signing of SB 140 in April, DeSantis removed that restriction, allowing people 18 years and older to purchase fireworks to be used only on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day. Area fire prevention officials are concerned about the potential uptick in fires and burn injuries as a result of the lenient regulations.
Tampa Bay Newspapers

Sanibel fire district resumes public CPR, first aid courses

The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District recently announce that CPR and first aid classes for the community are being scheduled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year, about 805,000 Americans will have a heart attack, equaling one attack every 40 seconds. "Due to COVID-19, we suspended all classroom activities with the public," Division Chief of Training Tim Barrett said. "We are so excited to be able to offer these classes again. CPR training is vital in saving lives in our community." A partner of the American Heart Association, the fire district offers a variety of classes: Heartsaver CPR AED, Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, and Basic Life Support (BLS) for Providers. Each class costs $20. After successfully completing the course, a CPR card will be emailed directly to students. All classroom instruction and activity will meet CDC guidelines to ensure public safety.
Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

New pre-alert system for firefighters helps limit health issues

EaseAlert is a pre-alert system designed to alert firefighters of an emergency before the alarm sounds in their station. It was created by young entrepreneurs Blake Richardson and Elezar Tonev with the goal to reduce stress and improve efficiency for firefighters. “My dad has been a firefighter most of my life. For years I would see him come home from work every third day just stressed and exhausted. I was seeing the toll that firefighting was taking on him first hand,” Richardson said. After doing some research, Richardson learned that the toll had a bigger impact on firefighters than he thought -- with heart attacks and an alarming number of suicides being leading causes of death. “Of course, firefighting is a very stressful job. We can’t change the inherent nature of the job,” Richardson said, “but what we can change is the alerting process and that’s where EaseAlert comes in.”
WCJB-TV ABC 20 Gainesville

Reedy Creek firefighters voice concerns over coronavirus policies compared to other districts

During the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of firefighters across Central Florida have tested positive or have been exposed to the virus. Some Reedy Creek firefighters said they are concerned about how the governing body for Walt Disney World handles how its first responders get paid during that time off, which is different from other communities. The first responders who take care of emergencies at Walt Disney World feel they are being treated unfairly when it comes to COVID-19 exposure. “It affects morale,” said Ryan O’Reilly, with the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Union. “We don’t understand why they want to treat us like that.” A Reedy Creek firefighter recently tested positive. So out of an abundance of caution, the district asked nearly an entire crew at one of its stations to quarantine. But the union is upset that those firefighters have to use sick time while they're off. And if they run out, they have to use vacation time.
WFTV ABC 9 Orlando

New Ocala fire, police campus more than half finished

Seven months after breaking ground on Ocala’s second first responders’ campus, the facility on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue is more than half finished. Even with delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction is set to end in October, about 30 days longer than originally anticipated. The delays involved the manufacturing and shipping of certain materials, according to Ashley Dobbs, Ocala city spokeswoman. Once complete, the $7 million campus will feature a new Ocala Fire Rescue station, an Ocala Police Department substation and a community center, complete with a basketball court. Ocala Fire Station No. 3 will move from 737 SW Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. to the new campus less than a mile up the road. In addition to the fire station, the campus will also serve as the Ocala Fire Rescue administration headquarters. It’s the first true headquarters for the department in about 50 years, according to Fire Chief Shane Alexander.
Ocala Star Banner - Metered Site

Brevard Fire Rescue’s Vehicle Dispatch Shift Supervisor Brenda Propst Retires After 35 Years

Brevard County Fire Rescue on Tuesday said goodbye and wished a happy and healthy retirement to Emergency Vehicle Dispatch Shift Supervisor Brenda Propst. “Brenda has faithfully and diligently served the citizens and visitors of Brevard County for 35 years,” said Brevard County Fire Rescue Chief Mark Schollmeyer. “She has literally answered tens of thousands of 911 calls, dispatched thousands of emergency vehicles, and saved countless lives over her long and distinguished career. She has been a fixture on the radio waves since many of us were barely out of our teens and you are loved and respected by all.” Congrats, good luck, and happy and healthy retirement, we hope you enjoyed your drive by parade today.

Mobile home destroyed by fire in Spring Hill, fire officials say

A Spring Hill homeowner woke up Tuesday night to the smell of smoke, and managed to safely evacuate the home, fire officials say. Around 8:32 p.m., Hernando County fire crews were alerted to the fire, located at 3346 Marina Way. Officials say the homeowner was sleeping on the couch when she smelled smoke. She thought her roommate was home, and tried to warn him, according to Hernando County Fire Rescue. They said she tried to open his door, but it was locked. She exited the mobile home and threw a rock through his bedroom window. The action caused more air to enter the home, rapidly spreading flames through the structure, fire officials say. This occurred before firefighters arrived at the location, where they found fire and heavy smoke. Firefighters say they extinguished the fire within 12 minutes of arriving.
WTVT-TV Fox 13 Tampa

Fire breaks out at shopping plaza in Kendall

A fire broke out Wednesday morning at a shopping plaza in Kendall. The fire occurred at 8505 Mills Drive. Sky 10 was above the scene shortly before 6:30 a.m. as light smoke and flames were coming from the side of the building. Some roof damage was visible from the outside but it’s unclear how extensive the damage was inside any of the businesses. Miami-Dade firefighters have since extinguished the flames. A spokesperson for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
WPLG-TV ABC 10 Miami

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