The JFRD, along with the Coast Guard and the Jacksonville Port Authority, participated in the first major multi-agency exercise of the year on Wednesday, 2 April. This special martime emergency response exercise, held at the North Florida Shipyards, simulated a fire aboard the Sea Star container vessel El Faro, more specifically an engine room fire with the ship docked at the shipyard. The successful training opportunity allowed for all involved agencies to thoroughly test emergency response techniques and communication protocols for joint operational readiness and efficacy.
On Friday, 11 April just after 3 PM, units were dispatched to deadly motor vehicle accident at Dunn Avenue and New Kings Road. Several vehicles, including a school bus, were involved in the incident that resulted in a Level 1 Mass Casualty Incident that would ultimately claim two lives and necesitate the transport of 7 additional patients (4 of which pediatric patients) to area hospitals, the latter evaluated prior to transport as non-critical status.
A truly headline grabbing emergency response occurred on April 23, a Wednesday morning and just before 10, when units responded to the report of smoke visible from underneath a manhole cover in the 200 block of Riverside just across the street from the YMCA. With the prompt discovery of a secondary fire in the vicinity of the subterranean transformer high voltage lines, JEA was required to shut power down in order for safe suppression activity to commence. The fire itself was subdued in a relatively short timeframe, courtesy of multiple portable extinguishers, but the corresponding power outage created a significant amount of havoc within the impacted areas. Businesses and traffic lights, ranging from as far north as Church Street to I-95 in the opposite direction, experienced a signifcant disruption that would not see a true amelioration until mid-day Thursday. Thankfully, no injuries were reported as a result of this major inconvenience.