1900 - 1950
The old hotel, which burned to the ground, was located at Robinson Street and Orange Avenue. The blaze consumed two adjoining houses very quickly. Blazing shingles were blown a mile east of town setting the pine woods on fire. One fireman, H Clark Robertson, armed with a fire bucket, found himself on the three-story frame hotel surrounded by flames. He jumped through the fire and over the old-fashioned veranda railing. He made a safe landing on the ground below, uninjured except for losing his hair.
Strong winds drove the fire throughout the lumber yard into a nearby freight depot igniting several freight cars. When the fire alarm was sounded, men volunteered to fight the fire, but the Orlando Fire Department and its equipment, had just left to attend the State Fireman's Competition in Tampa. The situation worsened when the water utility company increased the pressure in the water mains causing the old pipes to burst in the Marks Street area, sending a flood down Orange Avenue. No water reached South Street where it was desperately needed and Lockhart's Lumber Mill went up in smoke. The freight depot and several freight cars of the Atlantic Coast Lines Railroad were also consumed in the blaze. Mr. Lockhart had no insurance and the fire loss was $50,000.
Two teams of horses, “Fannie and Joe” and “Torro and Martina” used to pull fire wagons throughout Orlando.
Under Fire Chief Dean, OFD bought an automobile and turned it into a combination chemical car and Chief’s car.
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.
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 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
The Florida Legislature passes a Act creating Civil Service status for policemen and firemen.
OFD was authorized to answer calls outside the City limits, but only if lives and property were endangered. A Communications radio room was constructed on the southeast side of Orlando.
Under Mayor Duckworth, Chief Dean was the first paid Fire Chief. He was in his 16th year of office and paid $100 per month.
Built in 1884, the building was badly damaged and replaced by a new brick school building that later became City Hall. The site is presently the location of Beardall Park.
Town council began drafting and enacting ordinances.
BURDEN'S ARCADE HOTEL BUILDING FIRE
LOCKART LUMBER MILL FIRE
OFD HORSES USED TO PULL FIRE WAGONS
AUTOMOBILES JOIN OFD FORCE
WILLIAM DEAN APPOINTED 5TH FIRE CHIEF
OFD RECEIVES NEW MOTORIZED FIRE TRUCKS, REPLACING HORSE-DRAWN WAGONS.
STATION 1 MOVED
SHIFT CHANGES INSTITUTED
ASSISTANT CHIEF LOY DAVIS ACTS AS FIRE CHIEF
FIRST RADIO COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM
OFD BECOMES A FULLY PAID DEPARTMENT
STATION 2 BUILT TO SERVICE PARRAMORE AND CENTRAL.
FIREFIGHTER ROY PRATT FIRST OFD MEMBER KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
GIDEON DEAN APPOINTED 6TH FIRE CHIEF
MAXIE G. BENNETT APPOINTED 7TH FIRE CHIEF
OFD RECEIVED ITS FIRST RESCUE BOAT, DONATED BY THE ELKS CLUB
ORLANDO CIVIL SERVICE BOARD ESTABLISHED
MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS BEGIN
STATION 3 BUILT
SOUTHERN METHODIST ACADEMY FIRE
WILLIAM H. MATTHEWS APPOINTED 4TH FIRE CHIEF
A timeline of the biggest moments in OFD History.