The first Tuesday of the month, December 2nd (and a frigid one at that), would witness JFRD units assemble along the docks in Mayport in an attempt to save two shrimp boats from being destroyed by fire. Responding to the aforementioned scenario just after 4 AM, the first arriving crews in the 4300 block of Ocean Street reported heavy smoke and flames visible dockside near Safe Harbor, a report that would soon be augmented by identifying the vessels involved in the emergency as the Triton II along with the Iris-Marie: the latter would additionally soon be underscored as the area of origin of the blaze. Hampered by the small dock area and a fire that swiftly ran throughout the hull of the Iris-Marie, the well over four hour suppression activity performed by the firefighters eventually came to a tragic end as both ships surrendered to the damages caused by fire and water, both sinking slowly yet inexorably beneath the surface of the chilly waters. Thankfully no injuries were reported from the scene, with both the Coast Guard and State Fire Marshal involved in the aftermath: the maritime entity involved with establishing a containment boom for oil spills, and the expertise of the investigator required to determine a cause for this destructive incident.
A Christmas Miracle just before the holidays, as a joint Search Team comprised of JSO/JFRD members found two young children, missing for more than 48 hours, safe and sound in the vicinity of an old, tin-roof pump shed. The recovery of the Williams children represents not only the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon the parents, but a symbolic holiday gift for the entire community to warm everyone's hearts and appropriately lift spirits high just in time for the festive season. A fantastic job by our city's Search Teams!