July wasn't even 48 hours old when JFRD units were dispatched to what would, ultimately, become an incredibly sad and tragic residential structure fire response. As units arrived just after 6:30 AM in the 5500 block of Connie Jean Road (near 103rd), firefighters were immediately reporting black smoke and fire visible from a small, manufactured home during this early pre-dawn period. Although all occupants were out of the home, a fact quickly verified by the on scene crews, the initial patient assessment performed while the fire was being extinguished revealed that one pediatric patient of the three family members present at the time was in serious condition. That child was immediately transported to UF Health; unfortunately, the child would not survive the ordeal and was soon pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital. Although the cause of the fire was believed to be electrical, the State Fire Marshal was called in to perform the investigation along with the Red Cross, the latter to provide much needed assistance to the surviving family members.
Just before 10 AM on Wednesday, 8 July near I-95 North and West 8th Street, a collision of several school buses transporting summer camp participants to the Jacksonville Zoo and back, quickly resulted in an MCI Level 1. The patient count of 9, comprised of 3 adults and 6 pediatric, were all thankfully listed in good condition prior to transport to area hospitals, but traffic patterns along this busy stretch of highway were severely impacted for a considerable time.
A Second Alarm assignment around 2 AM on the 15th of July would eventually see nearly 45 firefighters respond to the 5200 block of East La Ventura Drive, a response to an apartment fire at the single story complex known as the Westgate Apartments. Building 1600, one of nearly twenty odd buildings, each comprised of 8 individual units, was the scene as Apartment 1603 had heavy fire showing upon the arrival of the first due. Located in the center of the building, the apartment of origin saw firefighters making some progress in stopping the fire from advancing any further when suddenly the first signs of compromised structural integrity forced Command to withdraw all interior resources. As the ceiling began to slowly but most assuredly collapse in some sections, the repositioned firefighters made a stand via each of the adjacent apartment units: an effort that not only stopped the forward progress of the blaze but ultimately resulted in a Signal 77, 'under control,' after approximately 45 minutes. Although no injuries were reported from the scene, multiple apartment units did sustain damages to varying degrees of intensity, the aforementioned fact then requiring the Red Cross to be called out to provide assistance for 11 displaced occupants. Joining that agency at the scene was also the State Fire Marshal's Office, in order to perform the investigative duties.
A truly unique and unusual incident occurred on Thursday, 16 July at approximately 2 PM: that's when units were called to the scene to rescue two individuals trapped on a dangling scaffold approximately three stories above the ground at the Duval County correctional facility. An afternoon thunderstorm, complete with strong winds and ineffable amounts of rain, made it's way through the city and engulfed the aforementioned building where on the Forsyth Street side three workers were perched on top of a scaffold, performing a weather-stripping project: a project that had begun back in the month of May. Somehow, perhaps influenced by the torrential downpour, the motor affixed to the winching system failed and the scaffold partially collapsed, sending the three workers sprawling about the tilted platform. Thankfully, each individual had a respective harness on and properly secured thus preventing a most certain death by falling three stories to the pavement below. One worker managed to lower himself to safety but for the two other men help was needed and arrived in the immediate form of Ladder 1. As the firefighters from that unit began to erect their aerial, Special Ops team members from the JFRD arrived and, in a very short time, had ascended the properly positioned aerial and brought the two remaining imperiled individuals safely down: unharmed and in no need of EMS, they soon departed the scene equipped with a frightening memory of a near deadly incident.