Congratulations are in order for the new Division Chief of Emergency Preparedness, Martin Senterfitt, who takes over for Lorin Mock, now recently retired and the previous occupant of the aforementioned position. Chief Senterfitt, formerly the District Chief for Fire 6 - 'C,' arrives at this new assignment equipped with a long and storied career with the Fire/Rescue Department, most notably as the main contributor in establishing Command and Control objectives for the Super Bowl extravaganza held several years ago in our city. For retiring Chief Mock, his credentials throughout his tenure with the Department are truly impressive; from his HAZMAT activities and TAZ responsibilities, to his stint as the Division Chief of Operations, Chief Mock certainly left a significant and indelible mark on the overall evolution of this Department. Good luck to both in all of their respective endeavors!
Exciting developments within the world of show business for the Department throughout the month of July, as the History Channel wraps up coverage of the T-2 incident from December of last year with final interviews for their ongoing series entitled 'Shock Wave.' Additionally, pre-production crews from the Discovery Channel are expected to arrive in town during the first few days of the month to begin preparations for a lengthy, possibly hour-long and 12 episode encompassing series depicting our department's HAZMAT Teams. Final details are still pending as the latter is still in the initial stage of development.
In incident response news, Monday morning, July 14, witnessed units from the department respond to a gas leak in the south Arlington area of the 7100 block of Berry Avenue. During routine road construction/improvement activity, heavy machinery inflicted a superficial tear in a 6 inch natural gas supply line. The loud, deafening noise immediately alerted everyone at the scene as to the magnitude of the scenario, prompting the 9-1-1 call and subsequent gathering of approximately 35 firefighters at the incident site. Command initiated a precautionary evacuation order consisting of a one block radius surrounding the scene within this residential neighborhood, resulting in the temporary displacement of approximately 25 people. With TECO Gas Co. also at the scene, the combined efforts of both agencies soon led to a foot-and-a-half long clamp applied to the actual tear and the scene deemed under control after about 90 minutes of activity.
The summer months typically bring thunderstorms to our region, and an intense as well as destructive version passed through eastern Duval County on Tuesday, July 22nd, with a lightning strike to a home in the Hidden Hills area representing the pinnacle of the corresponding damage inflicted by the inclement weather. Firefighters responded to the report of the fully involved, two-story, single family dwelling at approximately 5:30 PM with Tanker 29 arriving first on scene. With the structure having flames pouring out of several windows, the Engineer from Tanker 29 immediately pulled an inch-and-3/4 and proceeded to mount an attack by himself; fortunately he was soon joined by the other arriving units and, with a concerted and deliberate effort, the fire was eventually contained and extinguished after over 30 minutes of combat activities. The damage estimates were well over $100,000, but with no injuries reported to either firefighters or civilians, the incident could be described as an overall success.