With the arrival of the first day of June, many coastal areas throughout the United States are reminded of the significance of this unpleasant date: a date marking the beginning of yet another hurricane season. The good fortune of Jacksonville and Duval County of having been spared a potentially catastrophic direct hit for so long is certainly no excuse for complacency; and with that in mind, our municipal leadership has already embarked on an extensive campaign of awareness and preparedness with Public Service Annoucements and similar informative material visible everywhere. From special needs registration, pet friendly shelter identification and corresponding registration, to awareness of Flood Zone classifications and evacuation plans, all citizens are encouraged to be overly familiar with the aforementioned issues and any and all corresponding personal hurricane preparation requirements. Don't wait until it's too late - act now to have your strategy and affiliated actions in place!
In the department of truly 'good' news, the first Saturday of June brought the much needed relief of a 24 hour 'soaking' of our parched grounds by Tropical Storm/Depression Barry (depending on where you were in the Sate of Florida when 'he' arrived), in some instances as much as over 6 inches of rain in certain parts of our State and in parts of southern Georgia. Although not enough to completely mitigate the many wildfires raging throughout this south-eastern region of the United States, it did signal (perhaps) that rain can once again be counted on to occasionally appear in our weather forecast.
On Monday, June 4th, JFRD units were dispatched to the report of a mobile home fire at Paradise Village, 10201 West Beaver Street, Lot #133, just before 3:30 in the afternoon. The crew of Engine 57, upon arriving, reported light smoke visible from the rear corner of the mobile home and immediately set about performing a primary search. Once forcible entry had been achieved, the crew encountered heavy smoke throughout the interior of the home and soon stumbled upon, literally, a female victim laying on the floor near the front bedroom. Upon removal from the structure, the 56 year old white feamle was pronounced dead at the scene. The fire itself, originating in the utility room near the dryer, was extinguished in less than 5 minutes, resulting in minimal damages to the mobile home. Although investigators from both the local and state level were uniform in their declaration that the fire was probably electric, with an actual and definitive cause undetermined, it was soon discovered by homicide detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office that the victim had been dead for several days. As the investigation continued to unfold, it was also learned that the husband had not been seen for several hours prior to the woman's death and was not only the prime suspect, now considered a homicide, but also in what proved to be the subsequent arson activity intended to cover up the deed. The husband, Kenneth Rader, turned himself in to Columbus, Ohio, police on Wednesday, June 6th.