City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

Lakeland, FL (September 7, 2016)- The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) and the Lakeland Police Department (LPD) are excited to present a new “Keep 911 for Emergencies” public safety campaign. The campaign features four public service announcements and related print materials aimed at reminding the community that 911 is for emergencies only and that it should be used responsibly. 

Both LFD and LPD receive a high number of calls for service (22,515 and 108,657, respectively, in 2015). These calls are managed by the Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center, which dispatched 131,172 calls for service last year.

The Lakeland Fire Department and the Lakeland Police Department joined forces to address these issues of mutual concern in hopes of improving response with their current resources while in the process helping make Lakeland a safer community; a priority for both agencies. 

The Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center was consulted when developing this campaign to identify the most common examples of 911 misuse. In Lakeland’s case the leading issues in 911 misuse were: accidental dialing from cell phones by both unknowing adults or children on mobile devices; non-emergency medical calls; and parents calling 911 to threaten disobedient children. Individual public service announcements were created for each of these issues.

The public service announcements are available at:

Lakeland Fire Department | YouTube | Facebook

Lakeland Police Department | YouTube | Facebook

The PSAs may also be downloaded for redistribution at . They will also be shown on the City of Lakeland’s Public Access Channel, LGN.

Everyone is encouraged to share these messages to promote responsible 911 use. 

For interviews, filming, and more information please contact:

Janel Vasallo

Office: (863) 834-8219 | | Lakeland Fire Department

Robin Tillett

Office: (863) 834-2963 | | Lakeland Police Department


Lakeland, FL (August 25, 2016) – The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is proud to announce that one of its long serving firefighters, Lieutenant Matt Allan Brown, will be recognized on August 31, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio as The American Legion’s National Firefighter of the Year.

This distinguished award will be presented at The American Legion’s 98th Annual Convention held at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center. 

The award is highly prestigious and is only given to one firefighter in the nation per year. The American Legion explains that “The award recognizes those firefighters who have selflessly distinguished themselves over and above their normal duties predominantly though service activities, professional achievements, and heroic acts”. 

Lieutenant Brown was selected because of his high level of involvement and service in the Lakeland community outside of his duties as a firefighter, his dedication in service while at the department, and for several heroic actions while off duty. Matt serves the department as a Lieutenant as well as the department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team coordinator and SWAT Paramedic team coordinator. He is also highly involved in the community through his work as part of the Lakeland Rotary Club and is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland, Class XXXIII. 

One of the heroic incidents that led to this award was when Lieutenant Brown stepped in to provide medical aid while off duty in an incident which involved an officer being shot by a suspect while in pursuit. The second event took place in a local supermarket parking lot, where an elderly patient had a medical episode in a moving vehicle that proceeded to crash into parked vehicles. Lieutenant Brown, once again while off duty, sprang into action to assist the patient and contain the incident.

These heroic actions led to local and state level awards in 2015 for Lieutenant Brown prior to the national award he will accept August 31.

For interview requests and more information please contact Janel Vasallo.


Janel Vasallo, Public Relations & Information Manager | 863/834-8219


Uniform Method of Collection Resolution – Fire Assessment

The City Commission will consider adopting a resolution at its regularly scheduled December 15 meeting relating to the method of billing and collecting any potential fire assessment the Commission may adopt.  State law requires that a local government collecting a non-ad valorem special assessment for the first time adopt a resolution prior to January 1, or March 1 under certain circumstances, if it wishes to collect the assessment utilizing the tax bills issued for property taxes.  The proposed resolution only addresses the method of billing and collection if a fire assessment is adopted and does not constitute the actual adoption of a fire assessment.  

Further action by the City Commission, after a duly noticed public hearing, will be necessary before the official adoption of any fire assessment.

View Resolution

Lakeland Firefighters Respond to Lake Bentley Shores Condominium Fire
Four Injured, Including One Firefighter

Lakeland --- At approximately 1:10 AM, on Friday, November 8, 2013, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a structure fire at Lake Bentley Shores Condominiums located at 1920 E. Edgewood Drive, Lakeland, FL. The fire effected building L, a two story building that housed eight apartment units.

Upon arrival, Lakeland Firefighters found heavy black smoke showing on both the lower and upper level of building L. Firefighters entered building L, quickly extinguishing the fire and evacuating residents. The fire originated in a back bedroom of unit 7 in building L. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation but investigators believe that it was not intentionally set.

Resident Lamarcus Carter, 58, resident of unit L7 where the fire originated sustained smoke inhalation and was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC). A relative of Lamarcus and additional resident of Unit L7, Ross Carter, 23, was transported by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital for burns and smoke inhalation. Their current medical conditions are unknown to LFD. Fred Cottonjim, 77, a neighbor of the Carters sustained unknown non-fire related injuries while trying to evacuate and was also transported to LRMC for treatment.

In addition to the three residents injured and transported, Firefighter Alex Sanchez, 32, displayed signs of heat exhaustion as a result of fighting the blaze. He was transported to and treated at LRMC where he was released soon after at approximately 5:00 AM. Sanchez was one of several firefighters that entered the structure to both extinguish the fire and evacuate residents.

The Lakeland Fire Department responded with eight apparatuses and 18 personnel. The scene was cleared by 6:30 AM.