Although the month of November proved to be a relatively calm period without any noteworthy fire response, the first Monday in December 2006 provided the Department with an early morning response to an apartment fire; and with temperatures expected to be near freezing over the next several nights, the possibility for an increase in combat activity is certainly a credible scenario. The aforementioned structure fire took place at the Lighthouse Bay Apartments, located at 8090 Atlantic Blvd. Units were called to the scene at 6:30 a.m.. and confirmed heavy smoke and flame from a ground floor unit within the complex. Although the fire was brought under control in less than 15 minutes, the resulting damage was staggering: both ground and top floor units were totally destroyed, an estimated $150,000 in damages left behind in the wake of the fire, water and smoke generated by the incident. The culprit appeared to be a faulty stove, as the homeowner claimed that in the process of cooking breakfast for the children she turned the stove on and it suddenly 'exploded.' Red Cross was activated following the extinguishment of the fire to provide assistance for two adults and two children. No injuries were reported at the scene to firefighters or civilians.
As feared, the arrival of near-freezing weather touched off a spate of structure fires throughout the cold, early morning hours of Friday, December 8th. Shortly after 11:30 P.M. on Thursday evening, December 7th, units were dispatched to 11224 Shady Glen Drive to investigate the report of an adult female who had apprently jumped out of the second story window of her residence. Rescue 42, first at the scene, not only discovered the woman outside of the home but also heavy smoke coming from within the structure. Joined by the crew from Engine 51, the team soon realized that hardly any fire was peresent within the home, but incredibly thick clouds of smoke could be seen throughout the entire house, in every room. Performing the primary search, Engine 51 discovered two children in a rear bedroom on the second floor; one, and 8 year old male, the other a two year old girl. Both were quickly removed from the building and subsequently transported by Rescue units 21 and 42 to Baptist. The woman, the mother of the aforementioned children, had jumped from the second floor in order to escape the suffocating smoke and suffered serious injuries to her legs in the process. She was taken to Shands but not before informing firefighters at the scene that she was sure she 'had extinguished all of those candles' that had been in use during the evening. During the ensuing investigation it was soon confirmed that candles did indeed seem to be responsible for the fire, a fire that apprently was merely smoldering when firefighters arrived and had therefore self-extinguished some time earlier, but not before filling the entire house with thick, acrid smoke.
Shortly after the conclusion to the above scenario, at approximately 5:30 A.M. on December 8th, units were dispatched to a structure fire at West 23rd and Myrtle. When firefighters arrived at the scene of an apparently vacant, boarded up single story house, they could immediately see both heavy smoke and flame coming from the house. As Engine 18's crew was about to enter through forcible entry into the front of the building, a severely burned adult male appeared around the corner to inform the firefighters that an adult female was still inside. The male victim had apparently become engulfed in flame while inside the house, and jumped through the window to get outside to safety. The firefighters did indeed find an adult female on the floor immediately near the entrance, in severe respiratory distress. Both patients were transported in critical condition to Shands. Investigators at the scene were still sifting through evidence early in the morning, making every attempt to determine whether or not the fire was merely the result of individuals seeking shelter from the elements and starting a fire inside the vacant home; a fire that then obviously got out of control.