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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Osceola County Fire Service Gets New Chief

    Orlando Sentinel

    Beleaguered fire service gets new chief

    Compiled from staff reports
    Posted December 17, 2002


    KISSIMMEE -- Osceola County officials named a new fire chief Monday to succeed Don Adams, who resigned earlier this year in the wake of the deaths of two firefighters in a training accident.

    Frank Montes de Oca Jr., a former Orange County emergency medical services chief and former Springfield, Ohio, fire chief, will start in Osceola on Jan. 13. He will make $80,000 a year and will receive a county vehicle. He has been working most recently as a consultant in fire-rescue services and as a senior trainer with Lynx.

    During his 25 years in Orange County, Montes de Oca helped that Fire Department move from a volunteer force to a paid department with volunteers serving as backup. Last year, after reports of questionable behavior and improper use of taxpayer funding by volunteers, Osceola County moved its volunteers under the umbrella of the paid department. The department is still struggling with those changes.

    "He brings a host of qualities and experiences we need to move us on," said Tad Stone, administrator of public services for the county.

    Montes de Oca replaces Adams, who resigned in October but is officially chief until Dec. 27, when his vacation time runs out. Adams denied his resignation was connected to strife in the department or the training exercise July 30 that killed fire Lt. John Mickel and rookie firefighter Dallas Begg.

    A state fire marshal's report last month on the deaths found that a series of blunders contributed to the tragedy.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Update

    OSCEOLA NEWS GAZETTE

    County’s fire chief to start Jan. 13

    Posted on Thursday, December 19th
    By Sylvia L. Oliande News-Gazette Staff Writer

    Osceola County has hired a training officer for Lynx to lead its fire-rescue division through what is shaping up to be a difficult period.

    Frank R. Montes de Oca Jr., also a former fire chief in Springfield, Ohio, is scheduled to start the job — vacated in October with the resignation of former Chief Don Adams — Jan. 13. His annual salary will be $80,000 plus benefits.

    County officials said they tapped Montes de Oca to head the emergency services department and be fire chief because he has more than 25 years of experience in the field.

    He started his career in 1972 with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department, eventually serving as assistant fire chief there before serving in the fire chief’s position in Springfield from 1997 to 2000.

    Since 1990, Montes de Oca also has been an emergency services management consultant. According to his resume, his clients have included the cities of Mount Dora and St. Cloud and the Center for Urban Transportation Research.

    He has been a training officer for the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which manages the Lynx service, for a year.

    “(Montes de Oca) brings many, many years at a large system, a growing system,” said Tad Stone, director of emergency services, “and he has the experience to deal with that growing system, as Orange County was in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.”

    In his letter to the county seeking the job, Montes de Oca said as a life-long resident of Central Florida, he has an “insight in taking the (department) to the next level.”

    “Throughout my career I have interacted with career and volunteer firefighters at all levels, and have consistently enjoyed positive relations with all while accomplishing long-term successes for the benefit of the communities,” he wrote.

    He’ll likely need all of that experience as he takes over the Osceola County department, which has had its own growing pains.

    Last year, it dissolved its contracts with non-profit volunteer firefighter corporations and brought the volunteers under the umbrella of the county’s operation. Since then, the department has seen the number of volunteers dwindle.

    The department also has been criticized recently for long response times — and in the case of some volunteer units, not at all.

    On July 30, though, the fire rescue department was dealt its most painful blow. Veteran firefighter Lt. John Mickel and rookie firefighter Dallas Begg were killed while participating in a training exercise in Poinciana.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Too Many Questions.....

    Can anyone get thru all the PR fluff and get some straight answers on where this chief wants to go? Any death is a terrible blow to any department, and when something goes bad in a training exercise it is usually viewed as avoidable, by proper research and planning BEFORE the event. Is there a mandate to do a laundry list of things to bring dramatic change to the county? And, a very important point, What direction is planned for the volunteers? and were/are the volunteers "in the loop" in the planning process? Too many times, new management arrives with not a clue about local situations, and promptly finds him/herself imbroiled in a nasty battle over some trivia. Volunteers are, or should be, a VERY important part of the department, with a seat at the table on all issues. Any individual who is good enough at what he/she does to reach the top should be intelligent enough to realize the potential of volunteers in ANY department, regardless of size or complexity. Our county covers an area of 450 Square miles, with a population of about 850,000 people, and we protect it with 48 stations with an active volunteer force present in all but 2 stations. 6 stations are totally volunteer, 12 have 3-5 career crew assigned on daywork (daytime,weekdays only) others have 2-3 career crew working 24/7. our call volume in 2001 was 274,440 total for all services. If volunteers can make it work here, they can do anything, anywhere. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  4. #4
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post 12 firefighters approved

    ORLANDO Sentinel


    Osceola to hire 12 firefighters

    By Willoughby Mariano | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted December 24, 2002

    KISSIMMEE -- Twelve firefighters will be hired to staff a county station in Buenaventura Lakes where a blaze destroyed a house earlier this month because it took too long to find water to put it out, officials announced Monday.

    But the additional staffing slated to be on board Jan. 20 does not mean that firefighters in that neighborhood can count on having water fast, Public Safety Division Administrator Tad Stone told county commissioners.

    Officials will not order a needed fire truck to carry water until the first week of January, and it will take at least four months to arrive, Stone said. Until then, firefighters must continue to rely on all-volunteer firefighters at the Kissimmee Heights station in Buenaventura Lakes who control a truck that carries water -- and whodo not respond to every call.

    Commissioners were critical of Stone's management of the Fire Department and asked him what he needs to make sure destructive blazes such as one that consumed Ed Shaw's $250,000 home no longer occur.

    "There has been a lot of talk. We need to walk the walk," Commissioner Ken Shipley said.

    Commissioner Ken Smith, referring to the Dec. 2 Shaw fire, said, "I just don't want us to be in the situation we were in on Nicole Street."

    While county records show a paid crew responded to a fire at Shaw's home in nine minutes, they had no water. When water did come, it arrived 20 minutes later, in a tanker truck from Orange County's Lake Nona, 12 miles away.

    It was too late for Shaw's house, which was gutted. It had been the second fire within five hours at his home. An earlier electrical fire had been put out 40 minutes after it was reported.

    Stone's announcement of the additional staffing came as part of a bleak report on the state of the Fire Department where he described "holes in the system."

    Stone said his severely understaffed system cannot keep pace with the rapid growth and changing needs of this fast-growing county. No one plans for future fire needs, so hotels are approved although there are not enough county firefighters to cover them. There are too few firefighters, and too few administrators to manage them, Stone said.

    "To be quite honest, that's why things are falling through the cracks. That's why things are not happening," Stone said.

    The fire system has long been troubled. In July, Lt. John Mickel and rookie Dallas Begg died in a training accident. State officials determined a series of blunders led to their deaths.

    And since last year, fire officials have been struggling to unify a decentralized system that relied on paid and volunteer firefighters. After controversy over volunteer behavior, the stations lost their autonomy, and many quit responding to calls. Those who remained complained of inadequate equipment or too little support from fire officials.

    Although Stone did not directly address the fire-training accident before county officials, he did suggest ways to solve staffing problems.

    Stone plans to create the new positions of division chief of logistics, division chief of planning, and division chief for emergency medical services. The all-volunteer Campbell City station will be staffed with paid firefighters by the end of February. Stone predicted the county will need to hire 72 new firefighters in the next two years to keep up with growth and eliminate current weaknesses.

    "We are a very young system," Stone said. "We have been trying to play catch-up with systems nearby that are 100 years old."

    But county commissioners warned they want to see action soon. Too many volunteers have left the system, which could leave the county with dangerously low staffing in a bad wildfire season, Commissioner Atlee Mercer said.

    "If this were a dry year, I'd be scared to death," Mercer said.

    Willoughby Mariano can be reached at 407-931-5944 or wmariano@orlandosentinel.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  5. #5
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Angry What Are These People Smoking?......

    Stan, What is wrong with these idiots?? You seem to be close to this area and able to pick up on things, please keep us posted. (this is not Stan's dept.) No water?? Hire some people! Quick! What are we doing with the people?? Forming a human wall so the citizens can't see the building burning??? If water is that big a problem, buy TANKERS! (They haul water, don't they?) The problem doesn't seem to be with the Fire Department IT IS WITH THE STUPID MANAGEMENT. NOT FD MANAGEMENT, COUNTY GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT(or lack thereof) If the Mr. Stone who was mentioned in the press accounts happens to read this - Please do something decent for America's Fire and Rescue services. QUIT! Everyone else out there - Merry Christmas. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  6. #6
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Question ????

    Chief,

    In answer to your question....I do not know...and yes...you are correct...this is NOT my department. I am actually about 85 miles away from them and usually am able to just pass on what I read in the papers or through the Florida Chief's News letter.

    Here is an additional link to another story:
    http://www.osceolanewsgazette.com/article.php3?sid=5204
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  7. #7
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Smile Thanks, Stan!

    I found that the last link posted above will get you into the newspaper site AND will allow you to do a "letter to the editor" type message as well. I did so. Those folks need a reality check, bad. Stay safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

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