Super Bowl Sunday, the 2nd of February, and a day that will forever be remembered by the residents of the Paradise Island apartments on the city's southside. Just before 1 PM that afternoon, JFRD units were dispatched to the report of an apartment fire at the aforementioned location and, upon arrival, crews were confronted by heavy smoke and flames originating from the rear of one of the buildings within the compound. In spite of an initial aggressive attack, the fire spread so rapidly that crews had to be pulled out of the structure by Command, with the latter then issuing a Second Alarm to bring additional resources to the scene. After dousing the raging fire with the reliable, effective implementation and operation of aerial pipe ladders, in keeping with the aphorism of "big fire, big water," the situation was called under control after nearly two hours with parts of the building, unfortunately, partially collapsed due to the heavy assault from both fire and water. One firefighter, hit by falling debris, was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries and the Red Cross was called to the scene to provide assistance for the residents of nearly twenty units that had suffered significant damage during the ordeal. No immediate cause could be determined and the State Fire Marshal's office will be performing the applicable investigative process for this unfortunate incident.
An unusual, and thankfully successfully resolved, incident wrapped up the month of February on Friday, the 28th of the month just after 1 PM at 10913 Pine Estates Drive East: the location of Highlands Middle School. An MCI Level 3 was called by the JFRD in response to an exposure of pepper spray unfortunately experienced by 41 students and several teachers, and released during an assembly in the school's gymnasium. Although quick thinking led to an immediate decision to evacuate the gym and seek relief outdoors on the football field, in the end over 30 individuals would need transport to various local hospitals for treatment for minor injuries.