At approximately 3:30 PM Tuesday, August 7, units were summoned to a residential structure fire in the 3600 block of Richmond Street. The first arriving crews reported that smoke and fire could be seen along the outside of the two story home, specifically in direct proximity to the chimney. The four children and their parents were already outside and explaining to the firefighters that an earlier thunderstorm had delivered a "huge burst of lightning" that shook the house. The fire itself inside the home was being fed by a severed gas line running the length of the fireplace/chimney, with flames threatening to spread throughout the attic space. With the valve safely secured, the fire and corresponding hot spots were promptly and successfully dealt with. Upon further examination it appeared as if the lightning strike hit a nearby tree and jumped from there to the house, subsequently cutting the gas line. The over 2,700 square foot home sustained approximately $25,000 in damages, with no injuries reported from the scene.
Tragedy struck Jacksonville on Tuesday, 14 August, as units responded to the report of a structure fire around 5:30 PM in the 2100 block of West 17th Street. Upon arrival, Engine and HAZMAT 7 could see heavy smoke and flames surrounding the front area of a single story, single family brick/concrete block residential dwelling. Adding to the urgency were remarks made by an adult male indicating that people 'were trapped inside.' Fighting through the deadly conditions, the firefighters soon discovered an elderly black female in a back bedroom and quickly brought her outside to the attending paramedics. She was transported to Shands in critical condition. While these activities were in progress, firefighters also made the grisly discovery of a deceased elderly black female, trapped in a room near the carport area. Another family member, an adult black female who lived nearby and rushed to the scene to provide assistance before the firefighters had even arrived, sustained critical injuries during her actions and was also transported to Shands. The fire itself was extinguished in about 15 minutes, with the on scene crews successfully arresting extensions to an exposure a mere 5 feet away from the blaze. No word was immediately available concerning cause or point of origin, with the State Fire Marshal's Office investigating the deadly blaze.