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Santa Helps Adopted Family in Lake ParkSanta Helps Adopted Family in Lake Park
Story by Captain Don Delucia, PIO, photos by Don Delucia and CAT Volunteer Ron Radwin. Posted on December 26th , 2007

On Christmas Eve day, Station 68 along with numerous Santa helpers, delivered toys to a needy family in the Lake Park area. Don Keltner drove the Union's antique engine with Santa and led the parade of equipment that delivered presents to a family that included six children. All three television stations recorded the event for the evening newscasts.

Santa Delivered to St. Mary's Children's HospitalSanta Delivered to St. Mary's Children's Hospital
Story and photos by Captain Don Delucia, PIO. Posted on December 26th , 2007

On Friday December 21, PBCFR and the PBC F.O.O.L.S. delivered Santa and numerous toys to the children at the Jack Nicholas Children's Hospital. Nearly 27 young patients received toys and encouragement from Santa who arrived in Local 2928's antique fire engine. This was the fourth annual visit to the facility at St. Mary's Hospital.

Mentoring from the TailboardMentoring from the Tailboard
Posted on December 25th , 2007

We all know by taking the oath to serve our community as PBC firefighters that we are held to standards much higher than those of other members of the public. Our firefighters are striving beyond this standard in seeking new ways to "Go the Extra Mile" for our fire rescue customers. Our elders depend on it as much as our youngest members of the community look up to it. These firefighters are exemplary in their efforts towards "doing the right thing." R/LT Kyle Ventry and Paramedics Liz and Jay Martino are perfect examples of what it means to capture this spirit and compassion.

Apparently Kyle's wife is a school nurse at one of the local schools where they met a young boy living in a most unfortunate family environment. After multiple absences from classes they found out that the young boy was staying home to take care of his foster parent. Despite the young boy being dealt a tough hand in life he was doing what was asked of him. Kyle and his wife took him beneath their wing and started caring for the young boy, including paying for medical and school supplies and even welcoming the boy into their own home. While attempting to find another loving home for the boy to live, he was jumped and robbed after school one day. Items stolen from the boy, his only prize possession ... an iPod which allowed the young boy to escape from the daily challenges he faced. Jay and Liz Martino, who have always been inspired by Kyle's unselfish pursuit of "giving back", decided to purchase a new iPod for the boy and anonymously present it to Kyle. Kyle says the darn thing just showed up one day, but he knows who did it. The Martino's generosity is only matched by their modesty. Together firefighters can really make a difference to the young members of their community if they so choose. Our goal should be ensuring that difference is a positive one. We should all take something from this as we empower ourselves to mentor members within our given response zones. Thank you Kyle, Jay and Liz for representing the spirit of our Department All three will receive Frequent Fire Miles for "Going the Extra Mile" and Mentoring from the Tailboards!

CAT Team Donates for Toys for TotsCAT Team Donates for Toys for Tots
Story and photos by Alicia Kula. Posted on December 20th , 2007

As we all know, the dedicated members of the CAT team are volunteers who devote their time and energy supporting and guiding people who have suffered a loss due to fire or death. Their efforts are selfless and often go beyond the call of duty. Their ability to always think of others was recently demonstrated this last week when the CAT members decided to turn their monthly meeting into a toy drive to help support Toys for Tots. Their donations helped fill a box at headquarters. As always, the CAT members have gone beyond their expected duties.

Great job team!!!! Thank you!!!!!

Station 42 Hosts Division of Forestry TrainingStation 42 Hosts Division of Forestry Training
Story and photos by Battalion Chief Mike Wells. Posted on December 20th , 2007

On Thursday, December 20th, the Division of Forestry conducted CVOC training for their personnel at Station #42. Approximately 11 DOF personnel completed the course using Transports and Class 6 engines (brush trucks).

Firefighters of the YearFirefighters of the Year
Posted on December 19th , 2007

LT Frank Cote and R/LT Richard Christmas named Firefighters of the Year.

The text below was edited and taken from context of the original speech written by Chief Mike Arena to the Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce:

These individuals are both exceptional individuals and they both have a sincere commitment to the City of Belle Glade, to Palm Beach County, the Glades area and the people who live and work here. We are very proud to offer these two individuals as the 2007 Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce firefighters of the year. We would like to recognize them together and then share with you some of the contributions that have made to Fire Rescue and the community.

Over 2 years ago Lt Frank Cote had a mission of bringing about a better way to serve the Glades area specifically when people get injured on Lake Okeechobee. He worked very closely with Chief Steve Rice and they were able to secure a grant for a Rescue Airboat for Belle Glade. Lt Frank Cote spent a tremendous amount of his personal time designing and specifying where every thing needed to be on this airboat.

Frank is one of those people who continue to work until the job is done right and he has been doing a tremendous job working with his new Palm Beach County co-worker R/Lt Richard Christmas on developing the training program for it. R/LT Christmas quickly came on board over a year ago and has become an integral part of the airboat program.

This Rescue airboat is the first of its kind to Palm Beach County and it probably would not have happened if it were not for the efforts of both Lt Frank Cote and R/LT Rick Christmas. The airboat program was recently featured on Channel 5 news and the efforts put forth by both Lt Cote and R/LT Christmas were what made that very positive publicity possible.

The airboat was also featured on the evening news on Channel 12 because these 2 individuals once again came together in rapid fashion to save a drowning dog stuck in a weed invested waterway to assist Animal control personnel and ultimately saving the dog. This was also a highly publicized event which all resulted in very good press for Belle Glade and Fire Rescue.

When Richard Christmas found out that Belle Glade was merging with Palm Beach County he immediately wanted to be part of making sure it was going to work and it was going to work right for Belle Glade. He volunteered to transfer out here and came to work to assist anyway he could.

The airboat is not the only thing which puts the two individuals ahead of the pack so let me give you some other examples.

We recently had a large fire at the Okeelanta sugar mill resulting in many firefighters staying out all night. When it was time to switch out crews around 11pm, Lt Cote volunteered to stay out and work so others could go and get some needed rest. He did not want to take no for an answer since he knew there was a great deal of work to be done and he wanted to see it through.

R/LT Richard Christmas made him self available 24/7 immediately after the merger of Belle Glade Fire Department and Palm Beach County after October 1. He responded out on his personal time each time we had a fire or major car accident and was instrumental to the seamless transition between the two departments.

LT Cote has been an ambassador for the Lake and its assets and took the opportunity to showcase it by taking out various elected officials on tours often utilizing his own personal time. He received a personal thank you and commendation letter from Senator Aaronberg.

On Sunday March 11 at approximately 11pm in the evening we received a call for assistance at the 20 Mile Bend boat ramp and there were no airboat operators on duty a call was placed to R/LT Rick Christmas who quickly responded from home and was able to rescue the stranded people.

I have had the opportunity to work several large incidents with these two folks and they are true professional who will do whatever is necessary to get the job done. It does not matter what time of the day it is.

It is the efforts of people such as Frank and Rick that made this happen.

Congratulations!

Pahokee Christmas ParadePahokee Christmas Parade
Story and photos by Capt. Craig Prusansky. Posted on December 19th , 2007

Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue participated in this year's Pahokee Christmas Parade. In the parade was Pahokee's own Engine 72, along with the Battalion 7 airboat.

Brush Fire in Belle GladeBrush Fire in Belle Glade
Story and photos by Capt. Craig Prusansky. Posted on December 19th , 2007

On Tuesday, December 17, at approximately 7:15 pm crews from Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Station 73 responded to a report of a large brush fire in a subdivision near the southeast side of the city. Crews arrived to find a large pile of fallen trees and debris on fire adjacent to a vacant lot. Engine 73 crews were able to knock the fire down without any further fire spread. The cause of the fire is currently undetermined.

Units on scene: Engine 73, Brush 73, District 7, EMS 7, AMR Medic 41

Rollover Crash Near Lake HarborRollover Crash Near Lake Harbor
Story and photos by Capt. Craig Prusansky. Posted on December 19th , 2007

On Saturday, December 15, at approximately 6:20 pm crews from Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Station 74 in South Bay responded to a single vehicle rollover crash on US Highway 27 3 miles west of Lake Harbor. Crews arrived to find a female occupant and her young son already out of the vehicle. The driver sustained minor injuries and the young boy was uninjured. The vehicle had initially rolled onto its roof, trapping the driver and her son. Several passer-bys lifted the truck off of her, pulled her away from the truck, and removed her son from his car seat. Fortunately, the car seat prevented any injury from occurring to the boy. Crews from Hendry County Fire/EMS and Clewiston Fire Department also responded as this was about 2 miles east of the Palm Beach/Hendry County line. Units on scene: Engine 74, EMS 7, District 7, AMR Medic 42, Hendry Medic 408, Clewiston Engine 1.

Construction Worker Saved After Being Buried AliveConstruction Worker Saved After Being Buried Alive
Story and photos by Lt. Mark Carr. Posted on December 14th , 2007

Engine 32 and Rescue 32 in suburban Lake Worth were dispatched to a construction accident on December 12th at a site in The Fountains development where an underground lift-tank was being installed. A collapse in the soil had caused a worker to fall to a level approximately 12 feet below level ground and become covered with dirt. Dispatchers initially relayed to responding crews that the patient was buried over his head in dirt but that construction workers had uncovered him enough to clear his face. Engine 32's lieutenant requested the response of one of the county's two special operations units to assist in the rescue. The initial engine and rescue arrived within minutes and were able to uncover the patient a bit further before special operations crews arrived.

Once on scene, special operations crews from Station 31 began laying the groundwork for the below grade, confined space rescue. Firefighter/Paramedic Drew Reyburn spent more than two hours alongside the patient comforting him while directing operations around him from his perspective. Other special operations team members assisted by cutting and placing large boards in the hole in order to shore it up and keep more dirt from collapsing around the patient. The special operations team from Station 19 in Jupiter was requested, as was the special operations team from nearby Boynton Beach Fire-Rescue, in order to relieve weary firefighters working the labor-intensive operation.

A large Aquatech vacuum truck was brought in from Palm Beach County's Water Utilities Department and was used to remove dirt and mud from the area surrounding the trapped worker. Before it was all over, more than 25 Fire-Rescue crews worked together to rescue the worker. After more than four hours, the worker was finally freed and was transported by TraumaHawk AeroMedical helicopter to a local trauma center.

Suspicious Incident - Car on Fire Crashed Into HouseSuspicious Incident - Car on Fire Crashed Into House
Story and photos by Lt. Mark Carr. Posted on December 13th , 2007

Engine 24, in Westgate, started the shift December 12th with a bang when they were dispatched to a fire in a home at 500 Dogwood Road in suburban West Palm Beach. They arrived to find a working fire in a car that had been crashed through a fence and into the rear of the single-family dwelling. The same crew had responded to another fire at the same location three days prior.

Engine 24's crew brought the fire under control with support from West Palm Beach Fire-Rescue's Ladder 5 and Rescue 5. There were no injuries and the fire remains under investigation.

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