This guy ‘put out fires,’ literally

Mark Spudie, a former battalion chief for Pasco County Fire Rescue, dedicated 30 years of his life in the work of fighting fires. He hung up his gear on May 30 — walking the corridors of Wesley Chapel’s Fire Station 13 for the last time as part of the county’s team. “I wasn’t ready to go,” Spudie said. “I would have worked a few more years if I could have, and mainly because of the people … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills considers fire department merger

After nearly 60 years of operation and tradition, the Zephyrhills Fire Department may soon be absorbed by Pasco County Fire Rescue. As funding and staffing issues mount within the city’s fire department, the Zephyrhills City Council on July 1 unanimously directed city staff to begin formal negotiations to consolidate the local agency with Pasco County Fire Rescue. If the merger occurs, … [Read more...]

Pasco County hosts Disaster Expo to help residents

Pasco County marked the beginning of this year’s hurricane season with an expo aimed at helping residents better prepare for potential disasters. The county’s 2019 Disaster Expo, held at the Veterans Memorial Park in Hudson, gave those attending a chance to learn about myriad ways to better protect themselves, if a disaster should strike. Participants at the June 1 event included the … [Read more...]

Iconic Zephyrhills business lost to fire

A sadness looms over 5707 Gall Blvd., in Zephyrhills. Caution tape, and charred debris litter the empty, dirt parking lot. A pungent smell of burnt wood lingers in the air. Such is the aftermath of a May 2 two-alarm fire that destroyed the Crystal Bar and Package store, a Zephyrhills landmark, which has operated at the location since 1954. Zephyrhills Fire Rescue received a call … [Read more...]

Responders’ work praised in Dade City Business Center fire

Pasco County Commission Chairman Ron Oakley praised the work of emergency responders who converged on the Dade City Business Center, in Dade City, to put out a two-alarm fire, which began in the early afternoon on Jan. 18. It took about 18 hours to bring the fire under control, according to a report from Pasco County Fire Rescue. Pasco County Fire Rescue investigators attributed the … [Read more...]

Efforts underway to help Hurricane Michael victims

In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, some local efforts are underway to help the storm’s victims. Hurricane Michael was monstrous, clocking winds at 155 mph and becoming the first Category 4 storm to slam into Florida’s Panhandle. Its fierce winds and storm surge have reduced coastal communities to rubble, and after wreaking its havoc on the Panhandle, the destructive storm made its way … [Read more...]

Volunteer firefighter up for national award

Stephanie Sorenson always had a desire to become a firefighter. But, she was initially hesitant to join the force. Being a female, the Wesley Chapel resident was unsure how she would be accepted within the Pasco County Fire Rescue fraternity. She, too, was unaware of how to become a volunteer firefighter— until she attended a fire safety event at The Shops at Wiregrass more than four years … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills names new fire chief

The Zephyrhills City Council appointed a new fire chief during a special meeting on Aug. 16. It was the fourth new fire chief within four years. Brian Swartout has more than 32 years of fire service experience, and most recently served as Division Fire Chief for the Seminole Tribe Fire/Rescue in Broward County. As division fire chief with the Seminole Tribe, Swartout supervised a staff of … [Read more...]

No one hurt in Saddlebrook fire

Quick actions by a student at Saddlebrook Preparatory School averted the potential loss of life, in the early morning hours of June 9. About 2:30 a.m., the student smelled smoked and went searching for the source. When he saw smoke, “he pulled the alarm. He started knocking on doors. His roommates went and knocked on doors. He called security, and security came down and they knocked on … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills fire department remains status quo

The Zephyrhills City Council has decided to continue operating the city’s fire department on its own and not to merge with Pasco County Fire Rescue. Council members agreed unanimously to keep the status quo, ensuring the department will remain intact and continue to utilize its two fire stations. The council’s unanimous support for the department drew a standing ovation for its action, … [Read more...]