Oakland Park Fire Station #20, located at 4721 NW 9th Avenue, Oakland Park, FL 33309 has temporarily closed due to an outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests. First responders are at high risk for exposure. Despite safety measures and use of PPE, sources close to the department state that possibly up to 20 Oakland Park Fire Rescue employees have tested positive. Many of them self-quarantining at home.
This news comes at a time when Broward County is facing a record number of positive COVID-19 cases. Other Florida Fire Rescue stations such as Melbourne, Jacksonville, and Orlando have faced similar numbers of positive employees, but maintain enough staff to stay open.
Oakland Park Mayor, Matthew Sparks, stated “This is most unfortunate, I want to stress we do have agreements with surrounding cities to ensure the coverage and safety to our citizens. My deepest concern is for the members of our local Broward-Metro Professional Fire Fighters 3080 and their families that are affected by this pandemic.”
Sparks continues, “Our Fire fighters should be staffed properly, and I believe would be, if we had a competitive pay and compensation package. We just wouldn’t see as much attrition. Not one of our Oakland Park Fire Fighters should have to put in 192 hours in 11 days. The City is currently in negotiations and I hope we look at the big picture as well as the value of our personnel as we move forward. My prayers go out to all our staff who are currently having to sacrifice”.
It is unknown at this time if any employees are currently being treated in hospitals. City of Oakland Park Fire Rescue Station #20 employs about 74 employees in administration, fire prevention, and operations. While the station is temporarily closed, countywide aid is available and calls are automatically dispatched with three surrounding community departments.
Oakland Park should feel safe knowing that their calls will not go unanswered during the shut down. This is a time for our small town community to rally together and support our first responders. Living in Oakland Park will continue to monitor the situation and update the community with any further information.
Rhiannon Samoyedny was born and raised in South Florida. She has lived in Oakland Park for over 25 years and purchased her home in Garden Acres in 2012 where she resides with her husband, two teenaged boys, a few rescue cats, and her dog.
Her professional career began as a project manager and estimator for a small Oakland Park construction company and she later went on to earn her degree in Court Reporting, where she later incorporated her own small business RS Reporting, Inc.
She has a passion for gardening and attends many horticulture classes and workshops. She is also an LGA (Local Government Academy) graduate, class of 2019, and an active community volunteer and activist. You can usually find her around town at various Oakland Park meetings and events with her notebook, so be sure to say hello.