The rain continues to pound the First Coast during the first few days of October, with standing water concerns affiliated with those 'usual suspects' areas such as McCoy's Creek. The good news is that water rescue activities have been minimal compared with the emergencies responded to in September during our city's first brush with heavy rain. October isn't just about rain: it also is the month for Fire Prevention Week, with this year's activities scheduled from October the 8th through the 12th. October 12th will also see the return of the annual Fallen Firefighter's Memorial Service, held at 10 a.m. at the memorial site located at Fire Station #1, 611 Liberty Street.
A truly bizarre yet dramatic response occurred Wednesday evening, October 17th, when Engine 25 was summoned to provide assistance to a report of a domestic disturbance in the 6600 block of 103rd Street. Upon arrival, the crew from Engine 25, more specifically Captain Boudreau, Engineer Hidalgo and Firefighter Spencer, discovered a lone policewoman outside of a duplex standing next to an adult female. As the civilian anxiously proclaimed that her husband was inside the occupancy and had threatened to harm the children, it became immediately obvious that time was of the essence, prompting the police officer to kick the door open and begin to enter into the structure with Captain Boudreau and Firefighter Spencer as the only 'back-up' for the activity. Shortly after entering into the home, smoke could be observed rising up into the ceiling and resulting in Boudreau and Spencer calling for a full assignment, temporarily retreating with the police officer, and then donning their turnout gear and re-entering the home with a charged line. What transpired next can only be described as a page from a dramatic Hollywood script, as the two firefighters set about to locate the seat of the fire while performing a primary search to locate the occupants believed to still be inside. Suddenly, seen squatting on the floor on top of a child, an adult male was spotted who appeared to be holding the child to the ground while smoke continued to build and choke the interior of the home. Firefighter Spencer, without hesitation, pounced upon the male and wrestled the individual away from the child, while Captain Boudreau immediately descended upon the lifeless victim, scooping the child into his arms and exiting the building. Once outside, the two year old girl was declared a Trauma Red and Rescue 31, along with Engineer Hidalgo, joined with Captain Boudreau to begin life-saving measures that included immediate transport to the Trauma Center at Shands. The attempt proved successful, as the once lifeless child was crying inside the Rescue unit as the vehicle pulled into the hospital parking lot: the news continued to get better, as the child has since been released from the hospital. Meanwhile, 'back at the ranch' as the Hollywood theme goes, Firefighter Spencer continued to wrestle with the individual, later established as the father of the young girl, until police were able to enter into the home. The man managed to leap out of a window, but was soon tased and placed into custody outside of the home. The fire itself, started by the father, was quickly brought under control once the other dispatched units had arrived at the scene. In all, a truly memorable and unique experience for the Fire/Rescue units initially on scene that evening, and another example of the courage, determination and outright skill thoroughly exemplified by those firefighters via the performance of their respective duties.