Sunday, 8 March, will mark the return of Daylight Savings Time as we all 'spring ahead' and adjust our time accordingly, one hour forward. As customary, this occasion also represents yet another opportunity for the Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department to remind everyone to check the operational readiness of home smoke detectors and, specifically, replace the batteries in these life-saving devices. For anyone without a smoke detector, the city still offers a free smoke detector program for those who qualify. Find out more by calling 630-CITY today!

An emergency response that was certainly 'out of the ordinary' occurred Wednesday evening, March 11, as units were dispatched to a fire involving a Skyway Express Substation just after 11 PM. As Engine 13 arrived first on scene, they saw the entire roof of the elevated substation completely engulfed in flame. With the AvMed highrise a mere 20 feet away from the blaze, a Second Alarm was called to facilitate the extinguishment and exposure protection objectives. With the usual amount of expertise and peerless skill, the fire was called under control after a mere five minutes of aggressive firefighting. Not a moment too soon, either, as the fiberglass awning above the platform had rapidly started to deteriorate sending embers cascading down onto the escalator of the station. Combining the quick mitigation of the incident with the fact that no injuries were reported to either civilians of emergency responders at the scene, the overall incident was most assuredly a resounding success. Investigators with the Fire Prevention Division were called to the scene to work together with Transportation Authority representatives to determine the cause of the fire.

Tuesday afternoon, March 24 at approximately 1 PM, units responded to the report of a structure fire at the intersection of Shirley and Blanding - specifically a restaurant known as Stars Caribbean. Apparently during the lunch hour a cook attempted to open a gas powered smoker and was promptly confronted by a large cloud of smoke that soon transformed into flames. Despite immediately grabbing an extinguisher and discharging the same into the fire, the courageous cook's attempts were for naught and the fire promptly began to rapidly ascend the walls of the kitchen. Once Engine 14 and other dispatched units arrived on scene, the suppression work proved to be a minor endeavor as the fire was extinguished in a very short time. Checking for extensions in the adjacent stores was far more challenging, with ceiling tile needing to be pulled and similar activities having to be performed before an 'under control' could be issued with conviction. Damage estimates for the fire were established in the range of $150,000, and no injuries were reported to anyone present at the scene.