It 'only' took until the very beginning of August of 2011 for the first named storm system to show up on our city's radar that warranted notice: Tropical Storm 'Emily' effectively grabbed everyone's attention on Monday, 1 August, as forecast models seemed to indicate that this system could embark upon a journey that might potentially have an impact on the First Coast. As of Wednesday, 3 August, those predictions appeared far less intimidating with only a prolonged spell of stifling heat now, instead, posing an imminent threat to the well-being of our community. Nonetheless, 'Emily' is certainly a reminder that we are, indeed, in the middle of a hurricane season and that preparedness of the highest level must still be a top priority for every organization and individual.
At times there can be an assumption that a lack of 'incident' entries for any given month here at this website is the equivalent of a general lack of incidents throughout our city. That is, naturally, not the case: rather, a lack of 'significant' or extraordinarily noteworthy emergencies warranting an entry is to blame. Here are just a few examples to emphasize the previous point: Tuesday, 2 August, a wooded area just east of Kernan saw a breakout of a previous brush fire that managed to create a prominent plume of smoke that was then noticed by motorists traveling along nearby JTB. The brush fire, however, was in a secluded area and never posed a threat to any residential or commercial properties and was soon contained. Nothing too noteworthy there. Two residential structure fires were reported on 3 and 4 August, one near Myra Street and the latter in the 74 hundred block of Valley Drive North: one involved a garage and the other was a kitchen fire. In both cases the fires were extinguished quickly with damages practically limited only to the firerooms, with no injuries or exorbitant monetary issues affixed to either incident. Additionally, the Department responded to a few motor vehicle accidents with reported trauma patients during the early part of the month but, that too, wasn't anything unusual or out of the ordinary. Then there are those incidents that perhaps justify mentioning in the opinion of some, but to others are nothing more than routine emergencies not truly noteable for any particular reason. Case in point: 11 PM Wednesday evening, 10 August. Units are dispatched to the report of a residential structure fire at 8576 Nussbaum Drive and, upon arrival, discover a double-wide manufactured home smothered in smoke with flames shooting out in every direction up to five feet outward onto the property from underneath the apron of the home. Engine 31-C promptly initiates a forced entry via a front door encased by a make-shift covered porch and encounters the small family dog that quickly races past the firefighters out into the yard. With the fire now consuming a sizeable amount of the interior and creating huge holes in the particle board flooring, Command issues the order for everyone to stay out and the fire is eventually extinguished after an elapsed time of thirty minutes. The subsequent investigation reveals an electrical problem as the cause of the fire as well as the tragic personal tale of the homeowner: he had just paid off the home but has no insurance, and all of the recently purchased school supplies for his child have now been completely destroyed. Fortunately, however, no injuries were reported from the scene and the family dog was rescued from a certain death. In keeping with the established theme from this entry...undeniably, this particular incident represented a devastating event for the homeowner in question, a voracious fire that consumed a substantial part of one family's 'worldly' possessions. For the Department, however, the event was a typical, relatively routine emergency response that failed to deliver an insurmountable hurdle or create an unusual, extraordinary component that would or could be remembered for years to come...unless, possibly, the incident were 'immortalized' via an entry into the section of 'August Incidents 2011.'