New Firefighters Help Fight High-rise Blaze Thanks To SAFER Grant Funding

Winter Haven Fire Department

WINTER HAVEN, FL -- Just a few weeks after adding eight new fire fighters to the Winter Haven Fire Department, the crews were called on to fight a large structure fire.

On July 11, the department responded to a report of a fire in a high-rise structure and home to elderly residents.

Upon arrival, the crews found the 10-story high-rise engulfed with heavy smoke and flames coming from the second floor.

Thanks to a SAFER grant, the department was able to use the extra work force to quickly contain the fire as well as rescue five people from the flames. In addition, more than 80 residents were assisted during the evacuation by fire personnel.

"There is no doubt the additional manpower awarded through the SAFER grant played a key role in the successful mitigation of this potentially deadly incident," said Shannon Duncan, deputy chief, B shift.

The department was award the grant in 2008 and filled the positions in June 2009, bringing the total number of firefighters to 69. The high-rise structure fire was July 11.

The City of Winter Haven Fire department, which was established in 1911, operates three stations, housing one Battalion Chief, four engine companies, one ladder company and several support units.

The city, which covers 40-square miles, is made up of more than 50 lakes, 24 of which are connected. There is also a large retirement population as well as tourist who visit the area each year.

The new firefighters help crews to meet the requirements of "two in, two out" in a more timely manner.

"This enables more efficient and effective protection to the citizens we service," Duncan said.

With the additional firefighters, the City of Winter Haven is progressively working toward better compliance of NFPA 1710, Duncan added.

What They Bought:

  • Hired 8 firefighters
Last updated February 11, 2021