History of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department


April 30th, 1951- The city’s new fire boat, the John D. Sutton, is placed into service.

January 15th, 1953- Three new pumpers were inspected prior to being placed into service at Engine Companies 12, 15, and 17.

March 2nd, 1953- With city commissioners and city council members unable to agree on a pay raise for firefighters, the Fraternal Order of Firefighters petitions the Duval County Legislative Delegation for assistance.

March 16th, 1953- An explosion occurs at Apperson Chemicals, at 2903 Strickland Street.  Over a hundred 55-gallon drums containing chemicals such as sulphuric acid, alcohol, acetylene, and ammonia exploded, requiring seven engines and 2 ladders to extinguish the blaze.

April 2nd, 1953- Firemen attended a test of a new “Wet Water” chemical spray behind Fire Station 5 in Riverside.  The test was designed to show that the spray penetrates deeper than a stream of water.

April 23rd, 1953- Chief J.B. Chancey retires as Chief of the Jacksonville Fire Department and is succeeded by Fire Chief F.C. Kelley.  Chancey served the department since December 4th, 1907.

May 12th, 1953- The Working Feed Company Warehouse, owned by former Florida Governor John W. Martin, is destroyed by a second alarm fire.

December 9th, 1953- The Jacksonville City Commission rescinds a previous ordinance requiring firefighters to retire at the age of 65.

March 3rd, 1954- A drydock examination of the Fireboat Colin English revealed extensive damage caused by rot.  The vessel is placed out of service.

March 5th, 1954- The Anderson Surgical Supply Company at 42 West Duval Street was destroyed by a $104,000 fire.

April 5th, 1954- The City’s newest piece of Firefighting equipment arrives in Jacksonville by way of rail car.  The 75-foot American LaFrance aerial ladder cost $33,247.

June 10th 1954- The Jacksonville City Commission adopts a policy of paying all city firemen a minimum wage of 90 cents an hour for a 72 hour work week.

May 27th, 1955- Four firefighters were injured fighting a fire at Stein’s Clothing store on Forsyth Street.

August 10th, 1955- The National Cylinder Gas Company on Edwards Street is destroyed by fire, causing $100,000 in damage.

August 18th, 1955- A small grass fire spreads to the National Grocery and Tobacco Company and causes over $150,000 in damages.

December 21st, 1955- Jacksonville's first commercial airline crash occurs at Imeson Airport. 17 people perished in the crash of Eastern Airlins flight #6423 out of Miami.

1956- Engine 12 moves from its original home on the Southbank to its current home on Atlantic Boulevard.

1956- Ladder Company 13 in placed into service at Fire Station 13 in San Marco.

September 30th, 1956- The Seminole Hotel goes up in flames as a third alarm fire.  Firefighters rescued eight people and battled fire on the eighth and ninth floor.

October 29th, 1957- A four-alarm fire guts the Swift and Company Warehouse.

February 2nd, 1958- The Gillespie Warehouse is destroyed by fire.  The fire reaches a third alarm before being extinguished.

April 16th, 1958- The second 4-alarm fire in three months destroys the Atlantic Coast Line Terminals.

March 11th 1959- Thirteen firemen were knocked out by a deadly mixture of Sulphur and Hydrochloric Acid while fighting a fire at the St. Johns Medical Building, 2706 St. Johns Avenue.  Admitted for treatment were Captain A.L. Van Landingham and Firemen Frank Lester.  Eleven other firefighters were treated and released from local hospitals.

May 20th, 1959- Furchgott’s Warehouse is destroyed in a three alarm fire.

June 5th 1959- City and County Firemen battled a fire that damaged a third of the Borden’s Dairy Plant at 5955 Atlantic Blvd. Damage was in excess of $55,000.

June 12th, 1959- Fire destroys the 36,000 square foot Post Exchange at the Naval Air Station.  The $200,000 fire was battled by Naval and Jacksonville Firefighters.

November 8th, 1959- Two salaried dispatchers are hired by the Duval County Volunteer Fire Department Association to man the equipment at the Arlington Station during day time hours.  Volunteers continue to handle calls in the evening hours.

November 20th, 1959- A late night three-alarm fire races through the Furchgott’s Warehouse located at 505 West Adams Street.  More than 65 firemen and 12 pieces of apparatus had the fire under control by 6:30 that morning.

February 26th, 1960- A multiple alarm fire breaks out at the A. Levin and Company Warehouse at 837 Blanche Street causing $15,000 in damage.

June 10th, 1960- A Sinclair Refinery Company Truck and a F.E.C. freight engine collide on San Marco Boulevard causing a gasoline fire and severely injuring five men. Damage is estimated at $93,000.  Four of the five injured would later die as a result of their injuries.

October 1st, 1960- The warehouse of the G. Fetter Puthuff Company burns with an estimated damage of over $50,000.  

November 4th, 1960- The JFD shift from a 72 hour work week to a 56 hour work week.  This necessitates the hiring of 93 firefighters and the promotion of 83 others. 

November 15th, 1960- A second alarm fire causes $20,000 worth of damage to George Shuman Tire at 1319 West Beaver St.

January 6th, 1961- A three-alarm fire occurred at the River House Apartments, 2111-2115 River Blvd.  No one was injured as five families fled the fire.

January 21st, 1961- The Atlantic Cypress Plant at Commodore’s Point was destroyed in a three-alarm fire.  The cause of the fire is believed to be burning grass.  Firefighters averted a potential disaster by cooling a rail car loaded with liquid propane.

March 9th, 1961- The Duval County Commission appoints four former volunteer firemen to civil service posts as county radio dispatchers.

September 5th, 1961- A three alarm fire guts the apartments at 935 and 941 East Ashley Streets. 

September 21st, 1961- Five shops in the heart of the Five Points shopping center were destroyed by fire.  Damage is estimated at over $80,000.

September 24th, 1961- Six persons burned to death and another 10 suffered severe burns when a one ton stake-body truck overturned at Lee and Bay Streets.  Leaking gasoline ignited, causing the inferno.

January 2nd, 1962- A three alarm fire in a block long line of stalls and stores at the Jacksonville Produce Market causes an estimated $110,000 in damage.

January 6th, 1962- Mock Furniture goes up in flames as a third alarm fire.

January 8th, 1962- 40 animals were killed when fire ripped through the Jacksonville Livestock Auction.  Marietta Fire Chief Randall White said several animals near the rear door were saved.  The other animals, reacting out of fear, did not move.

April 23rd, 1962- A sulphur explosion and second alarm fire injured four workmen at the Wilson and Toomer Fertilizer Company on Talleyrand Ave.  Firefighters got the fire under control in nine hours.

May 5th, 1962- Four children perished when fire swept through an apartment building at 1811 ½ Bisbee St.

June 5th, 1962- The Jacksonville County Commission approves a contract with the Seagrave Corporation for the purchase of seven new fire engines.  The total price of the contract is $127, 855.

June 22nd, 1962- In what as seen as the first steps towards providing EMS to the citizens of Jacksonville, Assistant Fire Chief James Dowling Jr. appeared at a special meeting of the State Committee on Trauma hosted by the American College of Surgeons.  At this meeting, Dowling blasted Jacksonville’s ambulance companies, citing that they were more interested in getting people to funerals rather than to the hospital.

July 22nd, 1962- The Saki Shop Liquors at 4725 San Jose Boulevard was gutted by fire.  Damage is estimated at $65,000.  The fire started by workers spraying lacquer fluid on the walls.  The workers broke an overhead light producing a spark that ignited the fumes.

November 12th, 1962- The Golden Earring Lounge at 953 Dunn Avenue was heavily damaged by fire.  Damage is estimated at $100,000.  The 2:58am blaze is called in by a patrolling county policeman.

January 19th, 1963- Jax Produce Markets at the Beaver Street Viaduct suffers over $22,000 in damages following an overnight fire.

February 6th, 1963- Shortly after Midnight, the Firestone Building at 1001 Houston Street erupts into flames.  Cause of the fire is determined to be due to an electrical short on the northeast balcony.

February 15th, 1963- Ground is broken for Fire Station 18, which is located at 25th and Myrtle Streets.

March 22nd, 1963- A third alarm fire breaks out at the Royal Palms Hotel, 1750 Laura Street.  The fire started in the basement.  Estimated damage- $17,000.

April 4th, 1963- A fire starts in the living room of 2747 Algonquin Street in Ortega.  Damage is estimated at $25,000.

May 6th, 1963- A two alarm fire occurs at Ace’s Boat Tops, located at 2308 Phoenix Avenue.  Cause of the fire is attributed to an electrical short in the attic.

May 8th, 1963- The St. Charles Hotel at Lee and Bay Streets was the scene of a third alarm fire.  Three people trapped on upper floors were rescued by Lieutenant Dick Seward, and Privates Don McLeod and H.G. Buchanan.

May 17th, 1963- The Laney Duke Warehouse at 1560 Jessie St. burns in a spectacular four-alarm fire.  More than 150 Jacksonville Firefighters battled the fire, with damage estimated at over $2,400,000.

May 24th, 1963- A fire breaks out at the Southway Battery Factory, 1313 West Adams Street.  Within 13 minutes, the fire is upgraded to a third alarm.  There is over $50,000 in damage. 

June 1st, 1963- A fully loaded gasoline tanker overturned and burst into flames on Heckscher Drive near the Jacksonville Zoo, killing the driver.  Spilled gasoline saturated over 1 acre of ground.

June 9th, 1963- Twenty-Six firefighters were felled by smoke and heat at a spectacular fire involving the Waterfront Jacksonville Warehouse Company next to the Acosta Bridge.  Eighteen Firefighters were treated and released while eight others were admitted to local hospitals.  Damage was estimated at $60,000.

July 8th, 1963- Fireboat 82 is formally delivered to the City of Jacksonville by the Gibbs Shipyard replacing the John B. Callahan.  Fireboat 82 is 63 feet in length and can move at speeds of 20mph.  It has a pumping capacity of 4,000gpm.  The JFD Marine Fleet currently consists of 39 men and officers.

August 14th, 1963- F.C. Kelly officially retires as Chief of the Jacksonville Fire Department.  Having served since May 14th, 1920, Kelly served as Chief of the Department for 10 years.  Kelly also leaves with the distinction of being the only man at the time to promote through all department ranks under the civil service system.  Chief Kelly is succeeded by Chief G.R. Cromartie.

September 10th, 1963- New Fire Boat 82 is placed into service.  It was a former Aircraft and Rescue Boat converted by Gibbs Shipyard Inc.

September 16th, 1963- A fire struck the Food Fair Supermarket and an appliance store on Lem Turner Boulevard.  Damage is estimated at $500,000.

September 23rd, 1963- Fire Station 18 opens at 3504 Myrtle Avenue and house Engine 18 and Hook and Ladder 18.

December 8th, 1963- Arlington Volunteer Fire Station Number 2 is officially dedicated after nearly six years of construction.  AVFD #2 would later go on to become Jacksonville Fire Station 27.

December 29th, 1963- Twenty-two people died from smoke inhalation in the Roosevelt Hotel Fire, largely considered as Jacksonville’s deadliest fire.  Assistant Chief J.R. Romedy loses his life while directing firefighters on the upper floors of the hotel.  500 guests were displaced in the General Alarm that to this day remains the biggest fire in terms of loss of life in the history of the City of Jacksonville.

March 13th, 1964- Engine 1 crashes into the W.T. Grant Store at Adams and Main.

September, 1965- The high pressure system originally placed in service in 1909 is equipped with a new system.  This new system costs $155,000.  These pumps have a capacity of 3,250 gallons per minute at 175 psi each.  The station can be operated from Fire Communications by remote control.  Three engineers are assigned to the station at all times, with one always being on duty at Fire Headquarters at all times.

June 6th, 1966- Retired Chief George E. Hare passes away at the age of 79.  He served as Chief from May 13th, 1943 until November 16th, 1952.

February 15th, 1967- The Jacksonville Fire Department begins to respond to Emergency Medical calls after private companies refuse to answer police calls as a protest against people who wouldn’t pay for the service.  The calls are being handled by five Fire Department station wagons with three firefighters trained in first-aid.  Riding out of Station 1 is Assistant Chief Dowling, considered the Father of Rescue in Jacksonville, along with David Baxter and Bill Murray.

April 5th, 1967- The St. Regis Paper Company Box Plant on Eastport Road is destroyed by fire with an estimated $1 million in damages.

October 24th, 1967- Jacksonville City Council Member Jake Godbold proposes that The Jacksonville Fire Department be put back in the business of Emergency Medical Transport, at least for a 60-day trial period.

October 31st, 1967- Twenty Firefighters were injured at the Frito Lay Plant when a chemical known as AROCLOR was released and fell on a boiler.  The liquid turned into a gas, exploding the boiler and creating a fire.

November 7th, 1967- Former Fire Chief J. B. Chancey passed away.

November 9th, 1967- The Jacksonville Fire Department, starting at Noon, will handle emergency ambulance calls throughout the City of Jacksonville.  The city charges $17.50 for an emergency run.

December 22nd, 1967- Another two-alarm fire at The Apperson Chemical Company, 2903 Strickland Street, releases deadly chlorine gas fumes, sending 17 firefighters to the hospital.

January 12th, 1968- Bobby Claxton was named “Fireman of the Year” for 1967.  Claxton, assigned to Ladder 4, rescued a 5 year old boy from a burning home.

April 1st, 1968- The First box-type rescue unit is delivered to Jacksonville and placed into service at Fire Station Number 5.

July 1968- The Jacksonville Fire Department’s Rescue Division receives a federal grant for $2, 275,495.  In its first seven months, the Rescue Division has logged 2,932 calls.

July 1st, 1968- The old Gamewell Fire Alarm System is replaced by a telephone reporting system.

October 1st, 1968- The City of Jacksonville consolidates with Duval County.  The Jacksonville Fire Department merges with the Duval County Fire Department.  John Waters is appointed as the Public Safety Director.  The Jacksonville Fire Department and the Duval County Fire Department merge to become the Jacksonville Fire Division.

October 21st, 1968- The first city ambulance is placed into service in a former county fire station, operating out of Fire Station 22 at 2032 Jammes Road.

November 29th, 1968- Rescue 10 collides with a police car at the intersection of Park and King Streets in riverside.

December 25th, 1968- Private Walter Flowers was killed when Engine 13 collided with a freight train at the Intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and the Florida East Coast Railroad tracks.

January 14th, 1969- Firefighters rescue four people from the Timberlake Apartments on University Boulevard.  Damages totaled $200,000.

January 30th, 1969- The Jacksonville Rescue Division begins service to the beaches area.  Rescue 3 is put into service at Beaches Hospital.

February 1969- Fire Station 19 in Arlington is now fully staffed with paid civil service firefighters.

March 1969- A 2nd alarm fire at the Jacksonville Port Authority Warehouse on Talleyrand Avenue injures one firefighter.  Captain A. C. Smith suffers burns to his hands, chest, and legs.

May 2nd, 1969- George H. Smith becomes the first African-American firefighter hired by the Jacksonville Fire Department since April 1st, 1905.

June 6th, 1969- Lightning struck a #360,000 gallon gasoline storage tank on Commodore’s Point.  Nine firefighters are injured during the event.

1969- Seven people die in their home on East 19th Street due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

November 18th, 1969- Dr. Roy Baker was named the Fire Department Surgeon.

January 20th, 1970- Fire Station 4 is struck by Fire bombs.

January 28th, 1970- The Marion and Sons Furniture store on Beach Boulevard was leveled by fire.

1970- The first ten Lieutenants of the Rescue Division are presented their bars.

1970- W.A. Jack Weatherford is named the new Director of Public Safety.

May 25th, 1970- Engines 6, 9, and 13 receive brand new 100gpm Howe pumpers.

August 6th, 1970- Lt. Newton E. Johnson is killed while battling a fire at the A & P Food Store on San Juan Avenue.

September 12th, 1970- The Floradale Volunteer Fire Company is placed into service.  It is the first all African American fire company since Engine 3 was created in 1886.  The Floradale Fire Department would later go on to become Engine 36.

October 2nd, 1970- Engine 34 collides with a car, injuring two teenage girls.

October 9th, 1970- The Jacksonville Port Authority Warehouse is damaged by fire.  Marine 2 sinks in the St. Johns River while standing by.

February 14th, 1971- The Tire City Warehouse, located at 83 Catherine Street, suffers heavy losses in a three-alarm fire.

March 1st, 1971- W. E. Smith replaces J. J. Hubbard as Jacksonville’s next Fire Chief.

July 16th, 1972- The American Agriculture Company on Talleyrand Avenue is destroyed by fire.

August 24th, 1972- Two people were killed and three others were injured when Tanker 24 collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Moncrief Rd. and Edgewood Avenue.

January 10th, 1973- While responding to a fire in the 1500 block of West 31st Street, Chief R. P. Rosinski and J. W. Batton were fire at by three men using a shotgun and two pistols.

January 11th, 1973- A mother and her two-year old son were rescued by firefighters during a fire at 821 Market Street.

January 24th, 1973- Mrs. Kenneth LaRue donates a 1912 American LaFrance ladder truck.  The truck will be placed in the Fire Department Museum.

January 26th, 1973- The Jacksonville Association of Firefighters held its installation of Officers.

April 27th, 1973- four firefighters were suspended for three days for having a hair style that did not conform to rules set by the Fire Department.

May 1973- The Jacksonville Fire Division takes delivery of the first of 13 pumpers powered by diesel fuel.

July 3rd, 1973- A mother of three is killed in her home during a fire on Sail Avenue.

July 18th, 1973- A fire in the Prudential Insurance Company causes $10,000 in damage.  Rescue 2 transported 2 patients.

August 7th, 1973- A fully loaded Union 76 gasoline tank truck slid off Interstate 95 and burst into flames.  8,100 gallons of gasoline was drained into a ditch while additional gas was pumped into other trucks.

August 7th, 1973- Patricia Sheffield attempts to become the first female Jacksonville Firefighter.  She fails as she does not meet the height requirement and also failed the Physical Agility Test.

September 1973- A United States District Judge rules that the Jacksonville Fire division can require to maintain short hair lengths, mustaches, and sideburns.

November 16th, 1973- Lucille Hazouri was rescued from her burning home by Lt. Gary Keys.  Keys forced the front door and crawled into the house to find Ms. Hazouri unconscious in the hallway by the bedroom.

1973- Florida Junior College unveils an Emergency Medical Technician program for Rescue.

1975- The Jacksonville Fire Division begins to use video tape as a method of training.

1977- The Jacksonville Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team is formed.  It is the first team of its kind in the fire service.

1977- The State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services scheduled the first Paramedic state exam, with 5 Jacksonville Firefighters becoming the first State of Florida certified Paramedics.

January 12th, 1978- A third alarm fire tears through a manufacturing plant at 4245 Old St. Augustine Rd. Damage cost was estimated at $165,300.

January 19th, 1978- A grocery store at 1410 Edgewood Avenue West reaches a 3rd alarm and causes $175,000 in damage.

February 23rd, 1978- Engine 5 is first on scene of a Fire at 2135 Forest Street.  The second alarm blaze totals $97,500.

March 18th, 1978- The apartments at 4229 Moncrief Rd. erupt into a 2nd alarm fire.  Damage is estimated at $140,000.

September 24th, 1978- A 3rd alarm warehouse fire at 12855 Phillips Highway causes $140,000 in damages.

December 27th, 1978- A fire at the University of North Florida Cafeteria causes $88,000 in damages.

May 25th, 1979- A fire at the Jacksonville Shipyards erupts when a gas line ruptured and ingnited upon meeting a welder's torch. The ensuing fire trapped nine shipyard workers. The rescue efforts claimed the life of Lieutenant Joseph Stichway.

June 7th 1979- A fire breaks out at the Kenco Chemical and Manufacturing Company, makers of Rid-A-Bug insecticide. A four square mile area around the plant was evacuated and 44 people were hospitalized. A week later, millions of fish showed up dead in the Cedar River from toxic wash off.

October 3rd, 1982- The Jacksonville Fire Museum officially opens to the public.

August 18th, 1984- A huge fire erupts at the Triangle Oil Refineries. The tank ruptured and the fire raged for over 22 hours. See the Triangle Oil Page.

November 1984- Under intense scrutiny to overhaul public safety in Jacksonville, Mayor Jake Godbold appoints Dale T. Beerbower as Director of Public Safety.  Miles Bowers is appointed Director/Fire Chief.

1985- Chief Bowers unveils a new enhanced 911 and computer dispatch system, designed to increase response times.

January 21st, 1985- The Rex Box Plant burns.  7 Jacksonville Firefighters are awarded the Silver Medal of Valor after suppressing an extremely dangerous LP gas fire and a secondary burning liquid paraffin fire.  Lt. R.P. Morphew is also named Firefighter of the Year for his actions.

1985- New Fire Station 28 opens on Hogan Road.

 May 10th, 1985- The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Hazardous Material Team responds to an acid leak in the road on Lane Avenue .  A tractor trailer spilled the acid.  The Haz Mat team neutralized the acid and then cleaned it up.

Aug 22 1985- A house fire in Ortega destroys the home of attorney Richard Brooke Jr.  The house, at 4667 Ortega Boulevard, sustains over $350,000 in damages.

September 4th, 1985- A fire at Hatcher auto parts on U.S. 301 in Maxville causes about $4,000 in damages and sends a worker to the hospital with second degree burns.  The worker was working on an underground tank when a pool of gasoline exploded.

October 14 1985- A fire on the south side claims the life of 2 children.  14001 Beach Boulevard, Portside trailer park.

October 22nd, 1985- An accident on the screaming eagle roller coaster ride at the Greater Agricultural air injures 5.

1985- A pilot program was established for hiring new firefighters. Hiring criteria considered was a State of Florida Minimum Standards certificate, certification as an Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic, and prior firefighting experience. 

1986- The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department changes the specifications of its SCBA bottles to be made of metal spun-wrapped nylon, a change from the current composite metal.

1986- Fire Station 48 opens on Blount Island.  It is the first Advanced Life Support Engine placed in service by the Jacksonville Fire Division.

1986- The Rescue Division places a new chief, Rescue 104, in service.

1986- CATS, Cable Access Training System, is placed into service.  Firefighters can now tune into a weekly cable television training show.

1986- Fire Prevention and Training become their own Divisions.

1986- A new Rescue Unit is placed in service and is assigned to St. Lukes Hospital.

May 12th, 1986- 21 people are hospitalized and 50 people were decontaminated after a 55 gallon drum of paranitraniline was punctured at the P*I*E Facility.

July 15th, 1986- The Jacksonville Fire Division celebrates its centennial anniversary.

November 6th, 1986- Engineer Edgar Cowart is killed when Marine 3 is struck by a tugboat pushing a barge.  He is posthumously awarded the Firefighter of the Year award for 1986, making him the first two-time recipient.  In 1972, Cowart, while fully clothed, dove into the St. Johns River to save a man who was drowning.

December 4th, 1986- An Anhydrous Ammonia leak forces the evacuation of over 150 people from City Hall.

December 9th, 1986- Firefighters from Station 10 pull out of the station and, from the apron, can see heavy fire showing from Lee High School three blocks away.  Engine 10 and Ladder 10 arrive on scene to find the third floor of the school engulfed in flames.

January 15th, 1987- 2 arson fires break out at Kirby Smith Middle School on Hubbard street.  Both fires were quickly extinguished by firefighters.  Damages ranged from 25-45,000 dollars.

  February 14th, 1987- A fire at the Ritz Theater is ruled arson and causes over $50,000 in damages.

  March 6th, 1987- 42 children are transported to the hospital after a full school bus flipped over by the Jacksonville greyhound track on McDuff Avenue while enroute to the Moncrief Sixth Grade Center.

  March 16th, 1987- A two alarm fire breaks out at the Economy Budget Office Factory Warehouse in the 2400 block of Main Street in Springfield.  Firefighters get the fire under control in about a half hour.

  April 18th, 1987- A cigarette causes a fire at the Jefferson Smurfit Company on Talleyrand Avenue.  The fire narrowly misses the Good housekeeping Company, which was loaded with propane tanks.

May 4th, 1987- Over 100 firefighters are called to a fire at an industrial warehouse at 8629 Phillips Highway.  6 firefighters are sent to the hospital.

May 28th, 1987- Larry Norris becomes the first African American Combat Lieutenant since the Department began to diversify in 1968.  When the department formed in 1886, the firefighters and officers of Station Three were African American.

June 4th- 1987- Fire breaks out at the Chappell III Chile Development Center, 8400, Baycenter Road.  Damage was estimated at $1 Million.

June 17th, 1987- An unidentified man burns 7 women by throwing a caustic, alkali-based liquid on them in the 1800 block of Boulevard.

July 6th, 1987- A fire in the Laguna Terrace apartments, 8000 Baymeadows Circle E,  requires 100 firefighters and damages 4 units.

1987- The Fire Prevention Division adds four new inspectors.

1987- The Rescue Division adds two more Rescue Units to the fleet.

1987- Florida Community College of Jacksonville institutes a Paramedic training program.

1987- Pre-construction activity begins on a new regional Fire/Rescue Training Center.

1987- The 9-1-1 system is activated and placed into service in Jacksonville.

1987- Fire Station 19 opens on Rogero Road.  This new station replaces the older facilities that firefighters occupied on Arlington Road.

1987- Engine 43 is upgraded to provide Advanced Life Support Service to the Maxville area.

1987- The brand new Fire Station One is opened at 611 Liberty Street.  Engine companies One and Six, along with Rescue One, Fire One, and Ladder One are assigned.  Also placed at Station One is the Jacksonville Fallen Firefighter memorial.

1987- The city of Jacksonville Emergency Operations Center moves from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s Headquarters at 107 North Market Street.

1988- Engine companies start carrying 5” diameter hose.

1988- Engines 27 and 50 are upgraded to provide Advanced Cardiac Life Support Services.

1988- Cardiovascular stress testing begins for firefighters

1988- Division Chief of Training Charlie Clark is appointed Fire Marshal.  Chief Randy Napoli is appointed as the new Division Chief of Training.

March 31st, 1989- Fire Chief Gary F. Keys retires.  Danny Ingle is appointed Deputy Director/Fire Chief and A.R. Davis is appointed Chief of Operations.

1989- Four bridge inspectors become trapped 150 above ground while inspecting the Dames Point Bridge.  Captain Randy Fulford and Engineer H. B. Whidden perform the rescue with assistance from Ladder 30.

1989- The Fire/Rescue Communications center is moved from the Fire Services Division to the Fire Operations Division.  It is then split into two parts, combat and rescue, with separate dispatchers for each.

1989- Rescue 71 in Jacksonville Beach is dedicated.

December 25th, 1989- Jacksonville is the recipient of a white Christmas.  3” of snow fall on the ground, causing over 2,000 motor vehicle accidents with 500+ injuries. All but one of Jacksonville’s bridges is closed.

1990- The Command van is placed into service at Fire Station One

1990- Harold Hollander is appointed the Chief of the Rescue Division

1990- The Rescue Division places into service Rescue 23 in Ortega and Rescue 7 on Division Street.

June 18th, 1990- An angry customer walks in the GMAC offices and starts shooting.  Before killing himself, he kills nine people and injures four others.

August 23rd, 1990- Fire Station 51 opens on Old St. Augustine Road in Mandarin.

1991- 19 Jacksonville Firefighters are called to serve their country in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

1991- Reggie Thompson is awarded the Carnegie award for Bravery and is named the Firefighter of the Year for 1990.

1991- The Rescue Division begins its Quality Assurance Division

1991- Fire Station 53 opens on Jones Road.

1991- Construction begins on Fire Station 29 on McCormick Road.

1992- Dark Blue T-Shirts become the part of the JFRD uniform.

1992- Firefighter Manny Porter, of Engine 2, competes for a spot on the United States Olympic Boxing Team.

September 1992- Jacksonville Fire and Rescue sends a strike team to South Florida to assist with recovery efforts from Hurricane Andrew.

November 1992- The Rescue Division celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

January 2nd, 1993- Jacksonville Fire and Rescue responds to the Steuart Petroleum Plant for a report of an oil tank on fire.  Upon arrival, firefighters find a car had crashed into a tank.  The tank was ignited and product was burning.

January 8th, 1993- After burning for 115 hours straight, the fire at the Steuart Petroleum Plant is finally extinguished.  The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department becomes the first fire department in the world to extinguish this type of tank fire.  Over 900 firefighters were used to fight the fire.  Only two firefighters were injured.

1993- Wayne Young is named Chaplain of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

1993- Fire Station 52 is opened on Collins Road.

1993- Funding is approved to move the Jacksonville Fire Museum to Metropolitan Park from its location on Catherine Street.

1993- A hazardous materials database is established and a comprehensive response plan is developed.

1994- The current Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Logo is unveiled to replace the old blue and lime logo.

1994- Fire Station 9 relocates to the intersection of Main and 36th Streets. 

1994- Fire Station #49 opens on Yellow Bluff Road.

1994- The old Federal Reserve Building at 515 North Julia Street is purchased to house the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Administration, Duval County Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations Center, Fire and Rescue Communications Center and Prevention Division.

1995- The Rehab unit is outfitted by Tactical Support Personnel

1995- The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department spends $1.8 Million on a new SCBA system.

June 13th, 1997- Five Firefighters are injured at a fire in the Paxon Shopping Center.

May 1998- The Adcom Wire and Cable Factory is destroyed by a second alarm fire.

May 1998- A second alarm fire breaks out at the Farmer’s Market on Beaver Street.

June 15th-22nd, 1998- In what is the start of Florida’s worst wildfire season, hundreds of acres are scorched on Jacksonville’s west side.

June 1st, 1999- The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department takes over the Atlantic Beach Fire Department and begins to provide Fire and Rescue services to the City of Atlantic Beach.

June 26th, 1999- An arsonist runs wild through downtown Jacksonville, starting four fires on Hart Street, Minnie Street, Lee Street, and Evergreen Street.

July 1st, 2000- A new state ordinance goes into effect, allowing people to drop newborn babies off at fire stations with no questions asked.



History of the JFRD

Additional Fire-Rescue History

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