1. #1
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    Default Loud Florida Fire Truck Fails To Intimidate 'Gator

    Updated: 05-19-2003 05:31:33 PM

    Loud Florida Fire Truck Fails To Intimidate 'Gator

    ............
    AMBER SMITH
    Courtesy of The Lakeland Ledger

    DAVENPORT -- Alligators don't much care for red lights and loud sirens.

    Polk County Firefighter Mike DeRosa found out the hard way.

    DeRosa, 29, a firefighter/paramedic at county fire station No. 30 on County Road 54, was answering a resident's complaint last week about an 8-foot alligator that was lying in the middle of a Westhaven subdivision street.

    "I took the fire inspector's truck down there to see what the problem was," he said.

    "The lady said she had called (Polk County) Animal Services and was waiting for them to come, but she said a lot of people walk their dogs in that area and she was afraid someone would get hurt," DeRosa said.

    DeRosa pulled the 2001 Ford Explorer next to the alligator and turned on the truck's lights and sirens in an attempt to move the critter off the road.

    He never thought the gator would attack the truck.

    "I hit the siren and it flipped around and dug its teeth into the bumper. I guess he didn't care for the siren much," DeRosa said with a big smile and a small chuckle.

    The gouge where the gator's teeth tore through the bumper and teeth mark indentations can clearly be seen.

    DeRosa said he felt the gator pulling on the bumper and tried backing the truck up, but the gator held on.

    "I think I must have dragged him a little ways and then he let go," DeRosa said.

    But DeRosa did accomplish what he set out to do -- the gator got out of the road.

    "I didn't see where he went," DeRosa said of the now missing reptile that has not been seen since.

    DeRosa was called back to the station, which was about a mile away, for an emergency call.

    And he had to report the gator bite-and-run accident as well.

    "I dreaded telling my lieutenant," DeRosa said with yet another grin. "I knew I was going to get teased about this."

    Fire Lt. Steve LaJoie took the incident in stride.

    "We had to call the safety officer and report the bite-and-run accident," LaJoie said, stifling a laugh.

    "When we got back from the other emergency call, I had Mike take me up there so we could try to find the gator and get pictures and its tag number for insurance purposes," LaJoie said, jokingly.

    LaJoie said the fire inspector didn't find the incident as funny.

    "The last time we used his truck, something hit the windshield and broke it," the lieutenant said. "Now, it's been attacked by a gator.

    "He's a (Florida State University) Seminole fan, so we gave the truck a new call number . . . it is now GATOR WON," LaJoie said, not able to keep a straight face.

    "It's been like this since it happened," DeRosa groaned, admitting he has a new nickname now. "They call me the `Crocodile Hunter' now, too."

    LaJoie said the incident has also added a new chapter to the fire service's safety handbook.

    "They sent out a memo advising that it is not wise to hit the lights and siren near an alligator during mating season," LaJoie said.

    DeRosa, who has gotten used to the teasing, insists: "I was not the instiGATOR," he said. "He attacked me."
    Ryan

    I.A.C.O.J. Probie

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    Gator hmm


    can we say not our jurisdiction
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    Joseph Sullivan
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    10 bucks says PITA or some other wacko animal rights org will try to get charges pressed for dragging the poor ole helpless 8 FOOT alligator.....

    Funny story I think I would have peed myself!

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    I was thinking of "Gator Skin fireboots" they definately would be unique.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

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    seems like a friendly gator and i porlly would of peed myself also lol

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    What kind of animal bites a truck? his dentist wont be very happy
    I havent failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.

    - Thomas Edison

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