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Madeira Beach fire call investigated

An inquiry will see if rules were broken when a firefighter not fully trained went on a call.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published June 14, 2006


MADEIRA BEACH - Several firefighters are under investigation for possible violation of department rules affecting response to a mobile home fire June 4 at the Bay Pines Mobile Home Park.

The Madeira Beach Fire Department was second-responder to the fire supervised by the Seminole Fire Department.

Madeira Beach Fire Chief Derryl O'Neal confirmed the investigation Monday and said it would not be completed until next week.

O'Neal said he learned of the incident from Seminole Fire Chief Dan Graves, who called him the day of the fire.

According to O'Neal, when a firefighter assigned to work June 4 went home before his shift was over, his supervisor replaced him with another firefighter who was not fully qualified and trained on the truck apparatus.

Then a fire call came in just after 3 p.m., Madeira Beach responded to help Seminole put out the fire at 10005 Bay Pines Blvd.

"We needed to do relay pumping from one truck to another because there are no hydrants near the park," said Chief Graves.

When the Madeira Beach fire crew was unable to get its truck pump working to transfer water to the Seminole truck, a firefighter from the Seminole crew had to help, Graves said.

"It delayed us by a minute or so in fighting the fire, but it had no effect on the end result," he said.

The mobile home was already fully engulfed by fire when the firefighters arrived, Graves said, and took about 15 minutes to get under control. The mobile home was destroyed by the fire. The cause is unknown.

An unidentified woman who lived in the mobile home was taken to an area hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters left at 5:50 p.m. and the fire inspector left about 8 p.m., according to Graves.

"My concern is that they have a qualified pump operator when they respond to fires. We want to know we can rely on them," said Chief Graves, explaining why he called Chief O'Neal following the fire.

Graves says he has had no previous problems with the Madeira Beach fire department. "It appeared to be an isolated incident with a new person and a complicated operation," he said.

O'Neal said he will be interviewing all the firefighters involved in the incident this week and will discuss possible disciplinary actions with City Manager Jill Silverboard.

"On the surface it looks really bad," said O'Neal.

[Last modified June 14, 2006, 07:55:41]


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