OFD HISTORY

1950 - 2000

1953

1954

1955

1961

1967

1968

1962

1964

1966

Orlando’s Civil Service Board announced the beginning of entrance examinations in the police and fire departments.

Work hours dropped from 84 to 72 hours per week. Florida firefighters were seeking legislative support for a bill regulating the hours of work for firemen. The proposed act would limit the maximum number of duty hours to 120 in any two calendar weeks. Orlando's firefighters were working an 84-hour work week, while many of the South's larger cities were on 60-hour work weeks. In the majority of Pacific Coast cities, the maximum was 56 hours or less. New York City, Columbus, Ohio, and Flint, Michigan, were on 48-hour work weeks.

Their cost to build each fire house was $90,000.

Orlando firemen organized Local No. 1365 of the International Association of Firefighters.

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.

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.

The 60-room hotel on North Orange Avenue was swept by fire and all three Orlando Fire Department companies answered the alarm. The 30-year-old brick and wood hotel was a favorite for traveling salesmen. On the night of the fire, nine guests were awoken by hotel employees and two Orlando Patrolmen. Although the fire on the first floor was confined almost entirely to the liquor store, none of the operators of the liquor store, drugstore, restaurant or rug shop were able to take any of their merchandise to safety. The blaze raged for over four hours and water damage from fire hose was extensive. Firemen confined the blaze to the hotel building by watering down frame houses to the rear and a one-story block building to the south. With only one aerial ladder in operation, firemen were forced to climb atop of an adjoining house, owned by the same company, to put water on the roof of the building.

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

PAUL PENNINGTON APPOINTED 8TH FIRE CHIEF

ENTRANCE EXAMS INTRODUCED

REGULATION OF WORK HOURS BEGINS

STATION 4 AND STATION 5 OPEN

LOCAL NO. 1365 ORGANIZED

STATION 8 OPENS AT MCCOY JETPORT FACILITY

MELVIN RIVENBARK APPOINTED 9TH FIRE CHIEF

MELVIN RIVENBARK APPOINTED 9TH FIRE CHIEF

WORK WEEK DROPS TO 66 2/3 HOURS WITH ONE-HALF KELLY DAYS

THIRD SHIFT ESTABLISHED ON A 56-HOUR WORK WEEK

13 NEW POSITIONS APPROVED

AVALON HOTEL FIRE

ORLANDO CITY COUNCIL RAISES SALARIES FOR FIREFIGHTERS

A timeline of the biggest moments in OFD History.

1969

1972

1973

1974

1977

1978

1979

1980

1982

1983

1984

1987

1988

1991

1989

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

1981

1975

Bookhardt Memorial Park on West Central was later named after him.

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.

Firefighters Local Union 1365 and City of Orlando negotiated for a contract, marking the first time the City bargained with a Labor union.

The administrative offices moved from Station 1 to MJB on 100 S. Hughey Ave. The Training Academy moved from Station 6 to the Orlando Jetport.

 

ASST. CHIEF G. CALVIN BOOKHARDT KILLED AT A FIRE SCENE

ASST. CHIEF G. CALVIN BOOKHARDT KILLED AT A FIRE SCENE

STATION 3 REBUILT AT NEW SITE IN COLLEGE PARK

OFD HIRES FIRST BLACK FIREMEN

42-HOUR WEEK BEGINS

CHARLES S. PARKER APPOINTED 10TH FIRE CHIEF

ADMINISTRATIVE, TRAINING ACADEMY MOVE

E. “GENE” REYNOLDS APPOINTED 11TH FIRE CHIEF

OLD STATION 3 MOVES TO LOCH HAVEN PARK

OFD FIREGROUND COMMAND SOP'S PUBLISHED

JOINT RESPONSE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS

FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTERS HIRED

“SPINNER” INTRODUCED

RED AND WHITE INTRODUCED

HAZMAT VAN PLACED IN SERVICE

ARSON/BOMB SQUAD FORMED

DATA PROCESSING SECTION ESTABLISHED FOR DAILY INPUT OF ALL EMERGENCY RESPONSE DATA

STAFF & LINE MOVED INTO ITS NEW FACILITY AT 800 W. GORE

FIRE PREVENTION IMPLEMENTED LOCK BOX

STATION 9 RELOCATED TO ROSEMONT AREA

 

 

STATION 8 REOPENED ON SHOALCREEK DR

ISO RATING WENT FROM THREE TO TWO

OFD OFFERS ALS COVERAGE FROM EVERY STATION

ANNEXATION FIRE PROTECTION AGREEMENT

NEIGHBORHOOD EMERGENCY TRAINING (NET) PROGRAM BEGINS

TRAFFIC PREEMPTION SYSTEM INSTALLED IN MAJOR INTERSECTIONS

MUTUAL AID RESPONSE AGREEMENT SIGNED

 

THE LEARN-NOT-TO-BURN PROGRAM PLACED IN ALL ORLANDO PRESCHOOLS

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SECTION ESTABLISHED

1989 CHARLIE LEWIS AS APPOINTED 12TH FIRE CHIEF

ROBERT A. BOWMAN APPOINTED 13TH FIRE CHIEF

DONALD W. HARKINS APPOINTED 14TH FIRE CHIEF

STATION 12 OPENS IN THE METROWEST

LANDMARK APPOINTMENTS

ELDERLINKS FOUNDED

FIRST TECHNICAL RESCUE UNIT (TR-6) PUT IN SERVICE

FIRST OFFICIAL FLAG DESIGNED AND ACCEPTED BY OFD

OFD EQUIPMENT UPGRADES

 

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.

DEPARTMENT REORGANIZATION

 

One Deputy Chief position was eliminated and new Assistant Chiefs positions were created to head the Special Operations and Planning & Resource Management Division.

THERMAL IMAGING CAMERAS PLACED IN-SERVICE ON ALL TOWER APPARATUS

INCREASED ALS FLEET TO INCLUDE ALL ENGINES, RESCUES AND TOWERS

FIRST ACCELERATED PARAMEDIC PROGRAM COMPLETED

TOWER 11 UPGRADED TO A FULL SERVICE TOWER APPARATUS

 

 

ORDERED NEW FLEET OF MEDIUM-DUTY RESCUE UNITS

 

SOUTHPORT BECOMES ORLANDO’S FIRST FULLY SPRINKLERED SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY

PURCHASED 100 SETS OF NOMEX WILDLAND FIREFIGHTING GEAR

REINSTITUTED DRESS UNIFORMS FOR ALL RANKS

OBTAINED STATE LICENSURE FOR ALS PRE-HOSPITAL GROUND TRANSPORT

DESIGNED NEW GRAPHICS AND WARNING PACKAGE FOR APPARATUS

RESCUE 8 IS PUT INTO SERVICE

NAVAL TRAINING CENTER FIRE DEPARTMENT DISBANDED

 

The City of Orlando assumed full responsibility for fire protection at both former military bases after the closing of the NTC base.

INITIATED TACTICAL MEDIC PROGRAM

 

This program trained and equipped Paramedics to be part of OPD's SWAT team.

EXPANDED IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM

 

The new Health Check Program provided monthly health screening in high-rise apartments, flu shots and immunizations, targeting the City's elderly population who are unable to mobilize to various locations.

RESIDENTIAL FIRE SPRINKLERS REQUIRED

 

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.

HONOR GUARD REINSTATED

DISPATCHERS AND SUPERVISORS IN THE COMMUNICATIONS SECTION BECAME EMS STATE CERTIFIED

JUNIOR FIRE MARSHAL PROGRAM INITIATED

NATIONAL FIRE INCIDENT REPORTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTED

“FIRE VS. FUZZ”

The building was leased to the Orange County Historical Museum and opened in 1984.

The Training Academy's 5-story training tower was completed at the OOFTA. The cost was $140,000.

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.

Suzie Paxton, retired 2002 as Lieutenant and Kathy Johnston, retired 2007 as Deputy Chief

A robot named “Spinner” (a walking/ talking fire hydrant) was purchased for the Public Education Division for fire safety education.

 

After a history of traditionally red apparatus, OFD changes to red & white.

Joining it were the new dive van, mini tower and public education van.

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.

 

To improve accuracy in gathering emergency incident data, the National Fire Incident Reporting System was implemented.

The first annual “Fire vs. Fuzz” football game was played between OFD and OPD, with OFD winning 33-6.

OFD BEGINS ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT SERVICE

OFD BEGINS THE FIRST PARAMEDIC PROGRAM

OFD COMPUTER SYSTEM GOES ONLINE AFTER TWO YEARS OF PLANNING

STATION 7 AND STATION 9 BEGIN SERVICE

The Citizens Fire Academy (CFA) program began; the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program also began.

A new SmartNet 800MHz advanced trunking radio system in Communications was installed.

The station replaced the temporary trailer that had been used since 1994.

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.

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.

All operations personnel were issued portable radios.

Signed with Orange County Fire Department, the agreement provides joint fire protection services for the Lake Nona area.

The section is responsible for planning, responding and recovering from City disasters.