On March 14, 2017, Lake County firefighters rescued a three-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl from an apartment fire in the 2600 block of Shirleys Way in Leesburg.
Upon arrival, Lt. Glenn Bidwell, Firefighter Brad Hermesman and Firefighter Eric Steiner of Station 52 saw smoke billowing out of the front door of the three-story apartment. Told that there were children inside, they quickly searched the home and found two children in a back bedroom. The firefighters promptly rescued the kids and treated them at the scene, returning them safely to their mother.
The fire is under investigation but is believed to have originated in the kitchen with a pot on the stove.
“A heroic rescue such as this often only comes once in a lifetime for career firefighters, and this is exactly the type of incident our personnel train so hard for,” said Fire Chief Jim Dickerson. “It is also important to note that our firefighters were able to immediately enter the building due to the third firefighter on the truck, thanks to our recent increased hiring.”
Earlier this year, Lake County Fire Rescue hired 19 probationary firefighters, which added a third firefighter to three outlying stations, including Station 52. The county was able to add personnel due to a $1.7 million federal grant.
Lake County Fire Rescue responded to the fire under the command of the Leesburg Fire Department. As a result of Engine 52’s close proximity to the scene, Lake County Fire was dispatched under the county’s automatic aid fire agreement with the city.
The career firefighters of Lake County Fire Rescue protect county residents and visitors in an area covering approximately 1,200 square miles, with nearly 70,000 residences and up to 2,000 commercial properties. For up-to-date news on Lake County Fire Rescue, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue, www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue, or www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.