Request for Fred Hawkins - 2012-01-21

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Jan 21, 2012, 8:00:44 AM1/21/12
to gg
Fred, a house on our street caught fire early this morning (around 1am on
Buttonbush Loop, five houses down). The fire burned through the roof. So I
think the house was severely damaged. Thankfully our neighbors were not

As of this writing the street is cordoned off and Osceola firemen are still
here putting out the last remnants of the fire.

To your knowledge, is there a way to how much time elapsed between the 911
call and the arrival on the scene of the first firemen?

Fred Hawkins Jr.

Jan 21, 2012, 8:21:48 AM1/21/12
to <>, Richard Collins
Thank you for the information. Yes there absolutely is. It is a request I have had several times involving fires and accidents. Chief Rich Collins is always looking at the statistics of his teams response. I have CC'ed him on this response so he can supply you with the requested information.

Take care and God Bless

Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Osceola County Commissioner
District 5
(407) 709-1078
Sent from my iPad


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Jan 24, 2012, 6:34:17 AM1/24/12
Fred, have you heard back from Rich Collins? Could you post his response?

Fred Hawkins Jr.

Jan 24, 2012, 6:45:03 AM1/24/12
to <>

Below is the response to the request that was made concerning the fire over the weekend in Harmony.  

My continued prayers for the family that was involved.

If you have any further questions let me know.  

Take care and God Bless

Good Afternoon,

I hope you are having a great Monday!  Our staff has been reviewing the fire in Harmony on Saturday morning.  We are still reviewing the radio tapes to ensure the time stamps are accurate, however this is the information on the response to date:

Time of Dispatch =           01:21    (This is the time that the communications center dispatched our units)
Time Enroute (L54) =        01:23    (This is the time that our units went en route.)
Time of Arrival (L54) =      01:30    (This is arrival on scene)
Response Time (L54)=      08:59    (Total response time)

The battalion chief in charge of the incident (who responded from the Harmony station) identified some issues with access and parked cars on side streets that we are reviewing.  Once we review the tapes, I will let you know the outcome.  Additionally, the fire is still under investigation by our Fire Marshal.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at any time.  Have a great evening,

Richard Collins,
Osceola County Emergency Services
2586 Partin Settlement Rd.
Kissimmee Fl. 34744
Office: 407.742.6980
Cell: 321.624.9182

Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Osceola County Commissioner
District 5
Sent from my iPad


Jan 24, 2012, 7:23:12 AM1/24/12
Thank you Fred.
If am understanding correctly, the first fire truck arrived on the scene of the fire at 1:30am.
Can you ask Chief Collins from what fire station the first arriving fire truck was dispatched?


Jan 24, 2012, 7:53:57 AM1/24/12
I'm sure we will find out if they impacted the response time, but
Commissioner Hawkins' reference to parked cars is exactly what concerned
Harmony residents have been harping on for a long time. All of the cars
parked on our streets create serious safety issues, especially when
emergency vehicles need quick and adequate access to our homes.

Unfortunately, many folks leave their cars on the streets while their
driveways sit empty and their garages are either empty or full of things
that are not cars. Often these cars are parked illegally (either on the
wrong side of the road, too close to an intersection, or directly across
from one another leaving too little space for traffic). All of these cars,
aside from being an eyesore, create a situation where drivers can't see
pedestrians and they prevent first responders from helping citizens in need.

For the safety of Harmony residents, the parking issue is one that needs to
be addressed either by the HOA, via a County ordinance, or both. And the
existing parking laws need to be vigorously enforced by the Sheriff's
Office. Hopefully this unfortunate event will be a catalyst for action on
this issue.

Ray Walls

Geo writes:

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----


Jan 24, 2012, 9:17:21 AM1/24/12

If you the Chief's response, it indicates (L54) which is Ladder 54--the Harmony Fire station.


Jan 24, 2012, 12:03:06 PM1/24/12
That's where we thought the first fire truck would come from. Thanks Steve.
Robin and I drove from the fire station to the fire hydrant nearest the fire on Buttonbush the following day. It took less than 3:30. I can't help but wonder why it should take the first fire truck twice that long.
Please don't misunderstand the question. Our firefighters are critically important and I greatly appreciate what they do for us. But is anyone else surprised that it would take almost 10 minutes for the first response from a fire station essentially across the street?

Fred Hawkins Jr.

Jan 24, 2012, 1:10:08 PM1/24/12
to <>,
Please remember the click starts at the time the first call comes in.  3:30 is good time George but did you consider putting on all of the gear?  Staff is looking onto the issue of parking on the streets.  Additionally George I am not sure what vehicle you were driving but I would think it to be much smaller than the ladder truck from Harmony.

Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Osceola County Commissioner
District 5
Sent from my iPad


Jan 24, 2012, 2:54:14 PM1/24/12

Actually, I think the time is closer to 9 minutes ( 8:59 )....while I think that's fairly long, I tend to agree with Fred concerning the men & equipment....You have to consider they're sleeping, have to get up, get dressed, gather equipment, start the truck and hit the road....cross 192 and make a decision as to which entrance...either way, they've got to deal with traffic circles and winding streets and at least a bit of unfamiliarity as well as darkness in a very large vehicle...

If it were me waiting for them, I'm sure it would be an eternity....BUT--consider the alternative of having an engine come from Pine Grove, Deer Run or Holopaw....suddenly, 9 minutes is fast....

I'm confident these guys did the best they can and am glad we have that station where it is...


Fred Hawkins Jr.

Jan 24, 2012, 3:46:53 PM1/24/12
to <>,
I agree with Steve's assessment.  I would also like to add that the response time clock does not stop till water or a suppressant is applied.  So let's add in the time to pull the equipment off the truck, fire hose, and hook to the nearest hydrant or water truck.

Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Osceola County Commissioner
District 5
Sent from my iPad


Jan 24, 2012, 5:39:37 PM1/24/12
I am no expert either guys.

I was just reading Chief Collins' feedback quite differently than either of
you. So instead of chiming in with what I thought was a reasonable
interpretation, I thought it prudent to first speak to Chief Collins
himself. He was very friendly and forthcoming. Here's what he said.

From "Time of Dispatch" to "Time Enroute (L54)" is when the firemen are
waking up and getting on their gear and getting into the fire truck. So in
this instance, it took 2 minutes to do all of that (ie. from 1:21am to

From "Time Enroute (L54)" to "Time of Arrival (L54)" is the drive time from
the Harmony fire station (ie. #54) to the scene of the fire. In this
instance, it took 7 minutes to drive from a block south of 192 to Buttonbush
Loop (ie. from 1:23am to 1:30am). According to Google, that's 1.5 miles and
it should only take 5 minutes at normal speeds. I must admit that when I
drove that same route in 3.5 minutes, I went flying outta there assuming a
fire truck would speed to a serious fire in the same way.

Chief Collins made it clear that the time from "Time Enroute (L54)" to "Time
of Arrival (L54)" does not include setting up equipment on the scene or
hooking up hydrants. It does not include the first drop of water coming out

Chief Collins did say that the last minute of the drive time may have been
impacted by cars in the street, which was Ray's valid concern. He also said
that he would drive the route himself on a Friday night to see how long it
should really take. He also indicated that the stop time (ie. 1:30am) may
not have been triggered when it should have. His communications folks are
looking into that.

So the question remains. Is it reasonable for it to take almost 10 minutes
(ie. 9 minutes) for our closest fire fighters to get ready and drive 1.5
miles to where they then have to spend at least a few more minutes (no
doubt) setting up before the first drop of water hits the fire?

If this is true, I don't see any home in Harmony being saved from any
serious fire. It would seem that the best we can hope for is saving the
surrounding homes.

-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of Fred Hawkins Jr.
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:47 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: Request for Fred Hawkins - 2012-01-21

New Kid In Town

Jan 24, 2012, 7:01:06 PM1/24/12
to HarmonyFL
I am not claiming to be an expert either - just found the following

The first tid bit is from

Apparently, the Rand Institute under contract for the Office of Policy
Development and Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development,
provided an equation concerning travel times as a function of
distance. According to that, a 1.5 mile distance translates into a 3.1
minute travel time.

You might also want to read

There's no question that every minute counts. By the time we stepped
out onto our patio at 1:23 that night, the fire that was visible in
the room facing the lake, was still a size one might have killed with
a mid-size fire extinguisher. 7 minutes later, the flames were all

What can we do ourselves to be "prepared"? Obviously, having at least
one working extinguisher in a strategic location. And then having the
house monitored - this might shave off another precious minute or so.
But beware - not being familiar with the local codes, we did not know
that when you have a monitored alarm system, they do not (actually
they are not allowed to) connect your existing smoke detectors in the
house to the monitoring station. If you want your house monitored for
fire, you need to install separate smoke detectors for that purpose.

Sympathies to the affected family and to the rest of the community:
stay safe!
Helmut Meissner


Jan 26, 2012, 12:19:08 PM1/26/12
  I was at the fire sat am.  can you tell me how long it took for hose to be connected and used on fire?  when i came out fire trucks were there, police there.  only smoke coming from front door no flames.  by time hose hooked up flames 30 ft into air from house.  fire hydrant was across the street and down one house.


Feb 1, 2012, 8:18:46 PM2/1/12
to gg
Ladder 54 was on Buttonbush again today. I believe the guys were doing a follow-up look-over of the fire scene.
I took the opportunity to ask about the hydrant hookup time. I was told that while it may indeed take several minutes to hookup the fire hydrant, the firefighters don't wait for that. They have several hundred gallons of water on the fire truck itself. So they can immediately attack the fire when they arrive. They also bring a backup water truck to the scene just in case the hydrant is not working or it's too far away.

Fred Hawkins Jr.

Feb 1, 2012, 8:24:54 PM2/1/12
to <>
Great to hear George!  Thanks for the information.

Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Osceola County Commissioner
District 5
Sent from my iPad


Feb 2, 2012, 8:43:58 AM2/2/12
thanks george makes me feel a whole lot better
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