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Firefighter Steven Connors Promoted to Driver Engineer




On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Firefighter Steven Connors was promoted to Driver Engineer, the youngest firefighter to do so in LFD's history. 

 

Steven was joined by his wife and LFD colleagues to celebrate his professional advancement with the Lakeland Fire Department. Steve Connors has been an integral part of the LFD since March 29, 2010. Steve understands the importance of duty and service to country very well, having joined the United States Army at the young age of 17 where he went on to serve with the 1st Ranger Battalion and 82nd Airborne Division prior to joining the LFD.

 

Connors, a Ruskin, Florida native is an avid outdoorsman having spent his childhood fishing and hunting along this great state’s creeks and rivers. He proudly uses that experience and skill to his advantage at the annual Fire Olympics with repeated attempts to dethrone Gilman, Herndon and Brannen.

 

He is an East Bay High School graduate and has since gone on to receive his Associate of Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College and holds certification in law enforcement, fire standards, and is a paramedic.

 

Steve credits his ability to have become a Driver Engineer to the training and support of his crew and all of his family at the LFD. Steve notes that he will deeply miss his brothers and sisters on B shift due the move from this new opportunity but looks forward to the day he can work closely with them again.

 

Congratulations to Steven Connors and sincere thanks for his dedicated service. 

 


Lakeland --- At approximately 8:15 PM, the Lakeland Fire Department responded to a home fire at 1408 Phyllis Street, Lakeland, FL.  Fire crews breached the front door to find heavy smoke conditions and a bedroom on the east side of the home consumed in flames. Crews extinguished the fire without incident but upon searching the structure for occupants discovered 3 pets; a large dog and two cats.

The home was occupied by siblings Thomas Watkins and Pamela Burton, neither of which were home when the fire began. The fire is believed to have begun after Watkins briefly left the home for a walk. Upon returning Watkins discovered the fire and entered to rescue the aforementioned pets. Mr. Watkins was assessed and air lifted from the scene to Tampa General Hospital for treatment.

Extensive resuscitation attempts were made on all three of the pets by LFD firefighters. One cat was revived after being administered oxygen, however the second cat and the dog perished from their injuries, even after resuscitation attempts by crews which included full intubation and Advanced Life Support treatment. The LFD crews are trained and all of the department’s rescue apparatuses are equipped with specialized equipment designed for pet rescue and resuscitation.

It is important to remind pet owners that however difficult it may be to do, please do not enter a burning structure to save a pet. If a building is on fire or shows signs of fire, like smoke, stay out! Pets are very much loved and seen as members of the family but people should not jeopardize their safety in the event of a fire or other emergency. Responders are specially trained to rescue everyone, including pets. 

 

LFD’s fire investigator determined that that the fire was started by smoking materials in the affected bedroom and was accidental. The fire caused $25,000 in damage to the home.

 

8 apparatuses and 24 firefighters responded to the incident.

If any further information is needed contact Janel Vasallo.

 


Lakeland – For the third year, the entire country is invited to come together as one community to honor the memory of those firefighters who died in the line of duty and reassure their loved ones that their firefighter will not be forgotten by participating in the Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters remembrance. 

The Lakeland Fire Department will join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), other fire departments, and community groups from coast to coast in this poignant tribute as part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. The moment of remembrance will occur on Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM at all Lakeland fire stations and at participating locations throughout the Lakeland area. This day also marks the beginning of Fire Prevention Week. 

“It is with great sadness that we ring these bells for fellow firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. It allows us to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice they have made for their communities. It is my hope and desire to never have to ring a bell again because of a firefighter perishing while serving.” said Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard. 

“The ringing of bells has a powerful meaning to firefighters. Not only do bells signal the beginning or end of a call, they also were used to notify department members that one of their own had died while serving the community.” explained Chief Ronald Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. 

Hundreds of fire departments, places of worship and other groups participated in Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters over the past two years. 

 


 

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 long time veteran of the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD), Wayne Epperson, was promoted to the officer position of Battalion Chief.   

Bat. Chief Epperson was joined by family, friends, colleagues, and an extended network of City of Lakeland representatives, including Mayor Gow Fields, to celebrate his professional advancement.

Wayne began his career with the LFD in 1985 and served as a firefighter, fire instructor, driver-engineer, and lieutenant, having held the latter position for 17 years. Speakers at the ceremony including Fire Chief Gary Ballard, Assistant Chief Rick Hartzog, Bat. Chief Mike Williams, and Bat. Chief Jeff Wharton all concurred that Bat. Chief Epperson is one of the most honest, dedicated, and deserving individuals they know within the organization. Wayne has been heavily involved with training efforts throughout his career and through his many years of experience and leadership will undoubtedly further elevate the position.

 

A big congratulations to Wayne Epperson and sincere thanks to him for the many years of dedicated service he has provided the people of Lakeland.