The arrival of glorious autumnal weather coupled with the more specific dateline of early October means, once again, that it is time for Fire Prevention Week and the culmination of those activities with our Department's observance of the Fallen Firefighter Memorial. The specific date and time for the latter is Friday, October 14 at 10:00 a.m. at the memorial site located at Fire Station #1, 611 Liberty Street.
Oddly enough, this month has remained relatively unscathed from any major newsworthy or headline grabbing emergency response scenarios. Although, for example, there are the usual number of structure fires, the majority have been injury-free ordeals with many of the properties in question vacant, unoccupied or outright abandoned. The aforementioned construct does not translate well into news coverage and, therefore, may create an impression that the Department has had a dearth of emergency response activity - in reality that would not be an accurate assessment. An example of an incident that received virtually zero news coverage but involved a substantial fire/rescue presence occured on Thursday, 20 October at 11 PM, when units responded with a maximum full assignment to an apartment fire in the 3500 block of University Boulevard North. The apartment complex in question, the 'Casa Del Rio,' is located just a tad north from Jacksonville University and, therefore, an easy response for the first due from Station 27. Indeed, the fire was brought under control in about 15 minutes, with the fire confined to the apartment (and therefore no extensions), and no injuries reported to anyone on scene. Although the damage estimates were in excess of $200,000 and some smoke damage was prevalent in two adjacent apartment units, the media coverage was perfunctory at best. With the cause of the fire accidental, attributed to the inattentive cooking of wings on the kitchen stove in a pot of grease, and with no injuries, no life saved and no pets involved, the general consensus seemed to be that this event did not warrant more than cursory media attention.