South Jax fire chief asks public to notify before burning

By Gary Scott on February 4, 2016 at 1:22pm

Local fire officials are reminding residents to inform your local fire department if you have plans to burn something.

Fire crews from Jacksonville and South Jacksonville responded late Tuesday morning after a motorist called in a house fire on Old Airport Road just south of the South Jacksonville village limits.

It turns out, the property owner was burning down his barn, and didn’t want assistance. But, South Jacksonville Fire Chief David Hickox says the property owner didn’t notify the fire department, so, they responded.

“Usually they’ll contact either us or Jacksonville, just depends on the jurisdiction. [They’ll tell us], ‘We’re gonna burn this item down, we’re gonna have open burning, we’re gonna burn off our fields,’ not to respond with the fire department. In this case, it didn’t happen that way,” he says.

“I figured maybe they thought, it’s out in the middle of nowhere, it’s in an open field, it’ll be OK.”

Hickox notes South Jacksonville and Jacksonville’s fire departments are now in a mutual aid agreement, which is why both departments responded to the situation.

“When we respond with an engine and a tanker, they respond with the same equipment. So, we’re tying up two engines and two tankers, and somewhere in between six and twelve personnel for that short period of time,” he explains.

“Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that it doesn’t happen to be someone’s residence, but if someone’s going to burn something down, or tear it down and burn it, take a couple minutes and notify the fire department in your area, or the county sheriff’s department, and they’ll be more than glad to pass on the word, and that way, the resources aren’t responding to that,” Hickox adds.