SINCE IRMA: More calls for fire/ems service in Lee County

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 18:37:46-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla., -  “I’m a 5th generation firefighter,” said Ron Givens, an engineer and acting lieutenant with South Trail Fire & Rescue in Fort Myers. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid.”

Givens can’t say the same about being in a hurricane.

“I always thought of myself as someone who would evacuate like everyone else until it actually happened and I stayed.”

Givens is part of a crew of firefighters that stayed, ready to respond.

“It was almost like a war zone,” Givens said, describing his first ride after Hurricane Irma passed.

“The way some of the trees were sideways in the wind and the rain was going sideways. It was nothing I’ve ever dreamed of.”

Givens recalls one house fire in the Villas he responded to post-Irma. 

“I believe there was an open door between the utility room and their home so the fire went right into the living room and all the way across the house. You can see the charring on the outside.”

No one was hurt.

 “Luckily for them they were able to survive and make it through Irma but unfortunately after Irma passed and they were finally thinking it was all over, then their home caught fire,” Givens said.

Fire crews have been busier since Hurricane Irma made landfall in Southwest Florida Sunday, responding to a wide range of calls including fires and other emergencies.

“Our radios are nonstop,” said Amy Bollen, Assistant Public Education Specialist with South Trail Fire & Rescue.

She urges people who use generators to use them safely.

“Keep it away from your homes. Pay attention to which direction the wind is, where the exhaust is going and most importantly, keep the gasoline stored away from all heat sources,” Bollen said.

For a complete list of generator safety tips, click on the image above.