Compartment Corner: Winter Park (FL) Fire Rescue Department

By Mike Ciampo

Winter Park, Florida, is located in Orange County, Florida, and is adjacent to and just northeast of Orlando. It was originally built as a winter resort city. But over the years, it has maintained its natural beauty and has become a year-round home to many. The fire department is an ISO Class 1 rated department, with three shifts operating out of three city-owned firehouses: Stations 61, 62, and 64. The numbers coincide with the Orange County numbering system. The stations are staffed with 23 members on duty working a 24-on and 48-off shift. The department also runs emergency medical services, staffing advanced life support engines and ambulances. The department has upgraded its truck company capabilities by purchasing a beautifully laid out Pierce Quantum tiller (Ladder 61) that improves crews’ speed and efficiency in deploying their tools and adds mobility through the city streets and residential and commercial complexes. The new tiller also allows members to carry a tremendous amount of specialized equipment and tools for various different types of emergencies and specialized rescue calls.


Ladder 61’s inside team consists of the officer, who maintains a dual role of supervising the company and operating with the forcible entry firefighter, who carries irons and pressurized water can. If needed, he can also take one of their thru the lock tools. Prior to exiting the cab, the officer will remove the thermal imaging camera (TIC) from the charging/mounting bracket and clip it onto his gear. Once he disembarks the cab, he’ll proceed to get a six-foot hook. The “inside team,” or forcible entry, compartment is located just behind the right-side crew-cab door of the tractor on the officer’s side. Having the compartment located here allows the inside team to quickly get their tools when dismounting the apparatus. In addition, they can communicate and maintain the team concept by sticking together once they’ve gotten their tools out of the compartment. The forcible entry compartment transverses across the tractor of the apparatus allowing the chauffeur access to his tools from his side.

Firefighters from this station designed a shelf built out of high-density polyethylene (HPDE) to hold all of their through-the-lock tools (K-tool, R-Tool and “Lil-Rex” Tool) which sit just behind their set of irons inside the compartment. Their irons (fire ax and Pro-Bar) and an officer’s tool (A-tool) sit upright in quick-release brackets in the center of the compartment. The irons bracket uses a strap type design to hold them in place. This is because the weight of the “married” tools could pull them out of just a pressure-type bracket when responding or going over rough road surfaces. If they pull out of the bracket and bounced around the compartment, they could cause damage to other equipment, mechanical controls, or the lighting in the compartment.

The Hydra-Ram (hydraulic forcible entry tool) also sits in an upright position toward the left-hand side of the compartment while the pressurized water extinguisher sits toward the right-hand side and can be quickly released from the compartment by removing the hook-and-loop retaining strap. The “can” has an additional wood door chock attached to it with a small rope loop, allowing firefighters to chock a door or use it as a wedge to hold a purchase point while forcing a door.

The attachment devices in this compartment allow for all the tools to be quickly taken out of the compartment when reaching the scene. There are two six-foot fiberglass multihooks mounted toward the back wall of the compartment and one six-foot NY Roof hook mounted toward the front. Just behind the compartment, mounted on the outside wall near the fifth wheel, are two steel handled Talon hooks—NY Roof hook heads with the forks of the halligan tool welded to the opposite end.

The Winter Park (FL) Fire Rescue Truck Company 61 members have a great deal of company pride in their department, station, apparatus, and in the tools carried on it.

MIKE CIAMPO is a 29-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department. He is a frequent contributor to He has a B.A. in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC Truck Essentials H.O.T. program. He wrote the Ladder chapter and co-authored the Ventilation chapter for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on He also wrote the Ground Ladders-Bread & Butter DVD (Pennwell) and writes the monthly column ON FIRE on the back page of Fire Engineering.

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