McIntosh Mirror: Reflecting news in the Tosh

Want to impact your community? Many of McIntosh's citizen boards have open seats and a council at a loss as to how to fill them.

Light-up McIntosh December 15

Light-up McIntosh will begin at the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. The event will host Santa Clause and an area choir from six local churches will sing.

11.09.07 REPORT: Local firefighter offers fire prevention plan for historic homes, free smoke alarms

By Cher Phillips

When firefighters enter a burning home, their first priority is to save lives by picking a wall and following it around the structure, sweeping room to room.

Marion County Fire-Rescue Lt. Trish King said that takes precious time.

For some of McIntosh’s historic district residents, it could be time their sprawling, historic homes, with unusual floor plans might not allow them.

King offered the McIntosh Town Council a solution at last night’s meeting in the form of a pilot program for residential fire preplans.

Listen to Lt. Trish King's proposal to council

Marion County Fire-Rescue prepares fire preplans for businesses once a year. She said a preplan is not an inspection, but a plan for how to best save lives and fight a fire at that location.

If firefighters already had information about where bedrooms were in a home and other vital information, they’d have a better chance of saving lives and saving their homes.

Assigned at the Orange Lake station south of McIntosh, King has been with Fire-Rescue for 17 years, lives in an older home herself and is familiar with McIntosh.

She said there are a number of old homes in the fire zone her station covers, but McIntosh has a large concentration of large homes and fire hydrants. Preplanning historic homes in McIntosh would help train firefighters on fighting fires in these kinds of homes.

King is proposing a voluntary program and targeting residents with ballon-frame construction – which can be single-story homes or larger - because of their special vulnerabilities to being quickly consumed by fire. She said residents who live in homes built in the 1800’s or the early 1900’s stand a good chance of being ballon-frame homes.

Ballon-frame homes were constructed in the 1800’s and early 1900’s in a similar way to how prefab homes are constructed today, King said.

The frames of the homes were built on the ground and then tipped up, meaning that the vertical frames and the perimeter walls of the home go from the ground floor to the attic. If a fire starts in a first floor bedroom, it can spread quickly up the house.

King said she came up with the idea for the McIntosh area by adapting fire preplans firefighters regularly do for businesses and other residential areas.

She explained residential preplans are voluntary. Fire officials can’t come onto residential property to check if their ladders will reach a bedroom, or gauge how close a home is to a hydrant, without permission of the owner.

“It won’t help you on your insurance rates, or hurt you on your insurance rates,” King said. “It’ll help us as firefighters know what to do if your house catches on fire.”

Residential inspections have been done in Marion County in the past to help emergency personnel respond more quickly. King said they preplanned John Travolta’s Jumble Air home. Special security issues made preplanning vital for firefighters so they could not only get into, but out of his home in case of fire.

Town clerk Debbie Miller asked how about the security of the information gleaned in a residential fire preplan.

King said the information from the preplans is secured at the stations. She said that it is used through their 911 system. If a call goes out for a fire in a preplanned home, that information would be available to firefighters if they were dispatched to a fire.

Resident June Glass, chairwoman of the historic committee, asked King if preplanning would really help save an historic home because the wood used in some homes is lighter and burns quickly.

King said that the best defense is smoke detectors.

Peveeta Persaud, public education specialist for Marion County Board of County Commissioners, said their program is one of the most aggressive in the country. They provide two dual-mode smoke alarms that use both photo-electric and ionization technology for detecting fires for every home that requests them. The alarms are installed and tested by firefighters, free of charge -- which is funded by illegal burn citations.

King said residents can contact Persaud about the smoke-alarm program or fire preplans. Residents in homes that fit the criteria for the preplans King is initiating can have both done at once.

Information will be available at the town office. But Council Vice President Lee Deaderick indicated he didn’t see it as a council issue.

“It all seems it’s kind of pretty silly,” Deaderick said. “You’re asking for permission to do something that’s voluntary.”

King would like to know if residents are interested in the program. In a phone interview Friday, she said another reason she proposed the idea to the council involves training firefighters in how to approach fighting a fire in homes like McIntosh.

“It benefits everybody,” she said.

King that residents with questions about the preplan, or who want more information, can call her at station 9 at 352-438-2909. Residents who are interested in setting up a preplan or installation of fire alarms can reach Persaud at 352-291-8064, or e-mail


posted by Cher @ 3:51 PM, , links to this post

11.09.07 MULTIMEDIA REPORT: Ceremonies mark years of service to McIntosh

(Click on the image to view a Soundslide of the ceremonies.)

The Town of McIntosh swore in four new town officials last night and honored three for decades of service to the town.

Councilmen Willie Hamilton, Lee Deaderick and Thurman Kingsley took their oaths of office with the new mayor, Cary McCollum.

Roses and plaques were presented to former Councilwoman Eunice Smith and former Mayor Marsha Strange. Council President Frank Ciotti also noted former Council Vice President Howard Walkup's nearly 20 years of service to the town. The three officials decided not to run when their current terms expired this years.

The council re-elected Ciotti as council president and elected Deaderick as the new council vice president.

posted by Cher @ 12:25 PM, , links to this post


Editor and Publisher:

I'm Cher From McIntosh, FL I'm a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a master's degree in Mass Communication. While I was finishing my undergrad degree in journalism last year, I reported on McIntosh, Fla. for an in-depth reporting class. I figured that the reporting and the public record files should go somewhere people can access them. Reporters don't report to keep the information they find to themselves. Some of that reporting is included here in a forum that allows response. McIntosh suffers because with no news coverage, the local government and the rumor mill have too much potential to run rampant over residents. I moved to McIntosh in the fall of 1999. My profile

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