OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County Fire Rescue (OCFR) serves the entire population of Okeechobee County. This includes an area of 892 square miles, including 123 square miles of water. The population, according to the 2020 census is close to 40,000 and during the fall and winter nearly doubles. OCFR is responsible for fires, motor vehicle accidents, gas leaks, municipal alarms, power line downs, aircraft standby and much more.
In the last two weeks, OCFR dealt with 292 incidents including the following:
- On Aug. 30 at approximately 12:30 p.m., they were dispatched to the 2800 block of Northwest 20th Trail (airport) regarding a gas spill. When they arrived, they found a small passenger aircraft with a small spill underneath. They used Oil Dry to cover the spill and soak it up.
- On Aug. 31 at approximately 2:15 p.m., they were dispatched to the 2300 block of South Parrott Avenue regarding a passenger vehicle fire. When they arrived, they found a smoldering fire in the driver’s compartment of the vehicle. The owner told the firefighters she was coming out of a tanning spa when she noticed smoke.
- On Sept. 1 at approximately 1 p.m., they were dispatched to the 500 block of North Parrott Avenue regarding a gas leak. Roads were blocked and everyone within 330 feet of the leaking gas line was evacuated as the crews worked. The supervisor of the construction crew told firefighters his workers were drilling under the street to install an ethernet cable. They did a “Call before you dig” ticket, but no gas line was marked. When they hit the line, they immediately shut off all machinery and called 911.
- On Sept. 3 at approximately 4:30 p.m., they were dispatched to the 10200 block of Northwest Third Street regarding a cooking fire. When they arrived, the owner said she was cooking a cake and the butter overflowed into the oven causing a fire. The fire was already out when the firefighters arrived.
- On Sept. 4 at approximately 5:30 a.m., they were dispatched to the 11100 block of U.S. 441 Southeast regarding an outside storage fire. All occupants were out of the building. The fire was determined to have started on the plastic tarp walls of a wooden porch. The homeowners extinguished the fire before the firefighters arrived.
- On Sept. 5 at approximately 10:15 p.m., they were dispatched to the 8500 block of Southwest 15th Lane regarding a building fire. All occupants were out of the home, but the family dog was missing. A bystander was going in and out of the home looking for the dog according to the dispatcher. When the crew arrived, they were able to rescue the dog from inside the burning home. The fire was determined to have most likely started in a child’s bedroom where he had an Amazon Alexa plugged in. The fire spread to his blankets. The child was uninjured.
- On Sept. 5 at approximately 5 p.m., they were dispatched to the 22200 block of Northwest 176th Avenue regarding a forest fire. When they arrived, they determined the fire was started by a lightning strike. Because the forest service equipment was not able to get into the area and there were well-maintained fire lines in the area, it was decided to allow the fire to burn itself out.
- On Sept. 11 at approximately 2:30 p.m., they were dispatched to the 4200 block of State Road 710 Southeast regarding a brush fire. When they arrived, the crew had difficulty locating the fire and had to walk into the woods looking for it. The fire was extinguished, and no homes were in any danger. The fire was determined to be an act of nature.
- On Sept. 11at approximately 5:30 p.m., they were dispatched to the 39200 block of U.S. 441 North regarding a brush fire. Forest service arrived and cut a fence to allow them to enter the area. The fire was about 1 ½ miles off 441. The fire was determined to be unintentional.
- On Sept. 11 at approximately 8 p.m., they were dispatched to the 3600 block of State Road 60 East regarding a mobile home fire. The call was for mutual aid with Osceola County. When they arrived, they were asked to do a secondary search before being released to quarters.