Florida News

Friday, September 25, 2020

Gas line rupture shut down Florida Turnpike in Palm Beach County for hours

VIDEOS: Firefighters say a gas line break forced crews to shut down the Florida Turnpike and Lake Worth Road in all directions. The southbound lanes of the Turnpike reopened shortly after 5 p.m., the Florida Highway Patrol said. The northbound lanes didn't reopen until almost 7:30 p.m. And as a result of the leak, the overpass on the northbound side of the overpass sustained some damage. The Florida Highway Patrol said engineers are now inspecting it to see the extent of the damage. Part of the overpass collapsed. The situation began just before 10 a.m. Emergency crews quickly determined a natural gas line ruptured and shut down traffic in the area. Some drivers reported feeling the ground shake and a loud boom. Some drivers drove through the gas cloud. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue had a shelter in place for people within a half-mile of the gas leak.
WPEC-TV CBS 12 West Palm Beach

Lake City Fire Department installs new system that may lower your house insurance

Lake City Fire Department introduced their new communications system this week in efforts to bridge a communication gap between the county and city. It’s a software called ProQA. Before the system was put in place, a 911 call would be transferred from the county dispatch, which is separate, to the city dispatch at Station 1. The hope is that the new system will limit delays and errors in the process. “This just launched yesterday ... so it’s really a learning experience for the dispatchers right now," Assistant Fire Chief Joshua Wehinger said. The system uses software with built-in artificial intelligence that helps guide the dispatcher through a call, with scripted questions that expedite the process. Communications Supervisor at LCFD, Megan Hollis, called it a ‘big move.’
WCJB-TV ABC 20 Gainesville

Unoccupied Panama City home catches fire

Panama City firefighters battled a structure fire Thursday afternoon. Officials say the incident happened just after 3:30 p.m. at a home located at 2200 E. 8th Court. When first responders arrived on scene, they say they found a single-story, wood frame, residential structure with heavy smoke and fire showing. Several crews were able to extinguish the flames with no additional structures affected. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. We’re told the home was also unoccupied at the time of the blaze. Panama City firefighters want to remind everyone to ensure their smoke detectors are tested regularly and working properly. They also say it’s important for residents to always have an evacuation plan in place in case an emergency arises.
WJHG-TV NBC 7 Panama City

Vehicle fire shuts down all lanes of Eastbound I-4 in Orange County

PHOTO: Eastbound I-4 was completely closed Thursday night after a vehicle caught fire on the highway. Units from Orange County Fire-Rescue, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol all responded to Eastbound I-4 near the World Center Parkway just after 10 p.m. for reports of a vehicle on fire. Responding units arrived to find the vehicle completely engulfed in flames. The highway was closed for about an hour with FHP advising drivers to find an alternate route through the area while crews battled the flames. The roadway has since reopened. No injuries were reported.
WFTV ABC 9 Orlando

New 911 pilot program underway in Okaloosa County

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is one of the first agencies in the country to implement a new Motorola Solutions 9-1-1 pilot program that allows citizens to send video, photographs, and recordings directly to dispatchers in the Communications Unit via their cell phones. “With a few extra clicks, dispatchers can send the 9-1-1 caller a link to use to provide secure video or images in a controlled environment in real time so we can see what they are seeing,” said OCSO Asst. Communications Director Audrey Adams. The visual content is then stored in a vault for access by OCSO supervisors to boost public and officer safety during an incident, and for evidentiary purposes. “There is nothing more important to a community’s public safety initiatives than ensuring its residents can provide critical information to a 9-1-1 operator in times of crises, said Lynne Houserman, vice president of Emergency Call Handling, Software Enterprise with Motorola Solutions.
WJHG-TV NBC 7 Panama City

Thursday, September 24, 2020

3-alarm fire under control after breaking out at Brandon apartment complex

Twenty-nine people are displaced after a 3-alarm fire broke out Wednesday afternoon at a Brandon apartment complex. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said it received the call around 12:30 p.m. for a fire at the Charleston Landings Apartments. Smoke and flames started from a second-story building before spreading into its attic, according to a news release. Nearly 30 vehicles, including engines and specialized trucks, responded to help put out the flames. In addition to evacuating people, firefighters say they helped evacuate several dogs, cats, a snake and a bearded lizard. Emergency crews report no injuries to residents or firefighters, despite 16 units being impacted and 29 people getting displaced. The Red Cross has been contacted to assist those families with food, shelter and other needs. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
WTSP-TV CBS 10 St. Petersburg

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department breaks ground on permanent home for Gate Parkway fire station

The fast-growing Gate Parkway area has been served since last September by firefighters working out of a temporary structure. But Mayor Lenny Curry, members of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and City Council members broke ground Wednesday on $7 million building that will be the new home of Fire Station No. 63. “In this business, minutes equal lives,” JFRD Chief Keith Powers said at the ceremony. Curry included money for three new fire stations, including No. 63, in the city budget that was approved Tuesday night by City Council. “Firefighters spend a third of their lives away from home, from their families. So it’s very important that when a station is built -- it’s their second home,” said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.
WJXT-TV 4 Jacksonville

Gadsden County Commission approves funding for new EMS building

Gadsden County Commissioner Eric Hinson has secured $132,000 in funding for a new building to house Emergency Medical Services, enabling Havana’s residents to receive urgent care during a medical emergency. The current EMS location is structurally unsafe for workers. Havana Emergency Medical Services will be relocating to a new building after receiving the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners’ full support. The new EMS facility will be located at 6805 Florida-Georgia Highway, which will allow Havana EMS to remain located in the town. The facility will include a full kitchen, common area, dining area, two bedrooms, and a bath for $132,000. The hazardous structural impediments have put a strain on the workers who already operate efficiently with limited resources. Understanding these difficulties, Commissioner Hinson worked with the Board to secure funds from the 2019-2020 budget for the new building.
WTXL-TV ABC 27 Tallahassee

Tampa firefighter says being rock ’n’ roll drummer by night helps relieve stress

By day he is a firefighter/paramedic for the city of Tampa, and by night he is a rock 'n' roll drummer for the local band Jack Jagger. Nick Cedela quickly and quietly packs up the hook and ladder in preparation, the fire alarm could go off any second inside Tampa Fire Rescue Station 19. He’s part of the Marine Division. “Water rescue, any kind of marine fires, boat fires, we respond to it all,” said Cedela. But when Cedela isn’t fighting fires, he’s pounding the drums, with his band. “It’s a great stress relief especially the way I play,” said Cedela. He said whether it’s a rescue in a boat or a riff on stage, both jobs will make you sweat. “Anytime you go on stage in front of a crowd full of people it takes a little bit of guts and anytime you do the things we do it takes a little bit of guts and self-checking,” said Cedela. He said as a first responder you’re always helping others escape danger, but sometimes it’s the responder who needs their own escape.
WFTS-TV ABC 28 Tampa Bay

Springfield and Callaway firefighters host boot drive for Hurricane Sally victims

After Hurricane Sally, when emergency management in Baldwin county, Alabama called Springfield Fire Chief, Brian Eddins, it really struck a chord. Eddins immediately contacted the fire chief in Callaway, and together they made a plan to meet the needs of Baldwin county residents impacted by Hurricane Sally. Early Wednesday morning, both the Callaway and Springfield Fire departments teamed up to do a boot drive at the Callaway Walmart from to raise money for Baldwin County residents affected by the storm. Callaway firefighter, Caleb Clary, said it was only right to do as many came together to help their department after Hurricane Michael. “During Hurricane Michael with strike teams and FEMA and all that we got all kinds of support from local people, so we’re just trying to help any way we can and send some love their way,” Clary said.
WMBB-TV ABC 13 Panama City

Polk Fire Rescue: Mobile Home Ruined In Fire

A mobile home in Mulberry is a total loss after it was engulfed in flames early Wednesday morning, Polk Fire Rescue said. Polk Fire crews responded to the fire at 5:30 a.m. and thought there might be a person inside as half of the trailer was already burning with large flames, authorities said. Officials said the home was unoccupied at the time of the fire. Polk Fire Rescue has not released the cause of the fire.
Lakeland Patch

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