ORLANDO FIRE DEPARTMENT ESTABLISHED, JOHN WEEKS APPOINTED 1ST OFFICIAL FIRE CHIEF
Orlando’s volunteer fire department consisted of “Orlando Hook and Ladder Company No. 1” and “Orlando Hose Company No. 1.”
A third volunteer company organized but by July 1885 all three were consolidated into one.
FIRST TOWN HALL BUILT WITH FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
George LeMoyne constructed the first town hall, a two-story brick building on the north side of Oak (Wall) Street. In the rear of the building, a modern tower, thirty feet high, hung a bell with two ropes suspended, reaching the ground. When fire was discovered, it was the duty of the person finding it to run to the tower, grab both ropes and ring the bell until all able-bodied citizens were awake and out for duty with blankets, ladders and rope. The only water available was the well on Pine Street, immediately east of Orange Avenue, and the well on Central Avenue on the courthouse grounds.
On March 25, Station 1 moved from Oak (Wall) Street to a new building on 19 N Main Street (corner of Magnolia and Wall Street).
The total cost of the station was $17,708. The old station was abandoned.
A change in the 10-14 hour, two-platoon system was initiated – the shifts would alternate once a week on Saturday instead of every two weeks.
A shift would work 24 hours on duty one Saturday and then would be off 24 hours the next Saturday to accommodate this shift change.
Under Mayor Duckworth, Chief Dean was the first paid Fire Chief.
He was in his 16th year of office and paid $100 per month.
The City Commission approved the first radio communications system.
The frequency modulation transmitter and necessary equipment were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.
After the removal of Fire Chief Maxie G Bennett, Assistant Chief Loy Davis was acting Fire Chief for three years, but never officially appointed Fire Chief.
Therefore, he is not included in the men who held the office of Fire Chief of the Orlando Fire Department.
Davis returned to the position of Assistant Chief when Fire Chief Paul Pennington was appointed in 1953 by Mayor J. Rolfe Davis.
The raises recommended by Fire Chief Paul Pennington were:
POSITION, MONTHLY SALARY
Fire Chief, from $435 to $460
Instructor, from $352.50 to $365
Lieutenant, from $320 to $350
Engineer, from $300 to $350
Mechanic, from $305 to $325
Fireman 1st Class, from $290 to $300
Probationary Fireman, from $255 to $260
On June 29, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Orlando Civil Service Board placed 13 men on the fire department eligibility list to provide manpower for two new stations.
This station was constructed beside the eastern runway.
The Department also added one Class A Triple-Combination Seagrave Pumper, 1,000 GPM with Special Foam System.
OFD HIRES FIRST BLACK FIREMEN
On June 10, the first African-Americans in the history of the Orlando Fire Department were employed.
That first group included: Harley Leak, Timothy Jackson, Samuel Williams, Willie Green, J. L. Hawkins, and Davell R. Davis.
Orange County and Orlando Fire Departments began negotiations for a Joint Response Agreement.
The Orlando Fire Department changed its name to the Orlando Fire and Rescue Department and the OFD Explorer Post was established in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America.
The squad, along with one OPD officer conducts a unified investigation into arson and bomb cases.
When the OPD officer retired in 1993, Arson/Bomb Squad became staffed entirely by OFD.
ROBERT A. BOWMAN APPOINTED 13TH FIRE CHIEF
The Citizens Fire Academy (CFA) program began; the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program also began.
DONALD W. HARKINS APPOINTED 14TH FIRE CHIEF
A new SmartNet 800MHz advanced trunking radio system in Communications was installed.
The Elderlinks Program began to allow OFD to interact daily with the community’s elderly citizens.
In this program, OFD can link seniors with appropriate community service agencies when they are in need of help.
Kathy Johnston-Miller was appointed the first female Assistant Chief in department history.
David Andrew was appointed the first Hispanic Assistant Chief in department history.
One million dollars was spent to replace firefighters’ protective equipment with state of the art protective clothing and Scott 4.5 self-contained breathing apparatus with integrated PASS alarms.
$80,000 was used to purchase and upgrade fitness equipment for all firehouses.
Agreement negotiated with Southeast property owners to require residential sprinklers as part of the land development code.
Agreement also reached to utilize residential fire sprinklers in NTC redevelopment.
Also known as Peer Fitness, this program was developed as a national standard through a joint effort between the IAFC/IAFF and ACE (American Exercise Council).
The program is designed to evaluate and improve overall wellness of firefighters and to help them to better prepare for the physical demands related to their job.
In March, OFD began a 2-year accreditation process with the Commission of Fire Accreditation.
Once accredited, a fire service agency must be recertified every 5 years.
In August, the EMS Division began training and certifying all OFD paramedics in PALS.
This is an American Heart Association course similar to ACLS, but focuses on pediatric patients.