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Fire commission hears of calls, inspections

By Staff | Feb 18, 2020

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

The Captiva Island Fire Control District’s commission was updated on recent fire calls, annual inspections and the annual audit at its recent meeting, as well as discussed a requested contribution from the district for this year’s involvement in the Captiva Civic Association Annual ABC gala.

At the Feb. 11 meeting, Fire Chief Jeff Pawul reported that the district responded to three, separate fire-related calls in January. Two calls originated from the South Seas Island Resort and the third one involved a residence on Sanibel. The fire agencies on the two sister islands assist each other as needed.

“We did have a couple of close calls,” he said.

One of the resort fires involved a clothes dryer that had been overloaded and caught on fire, while the second involved a dishwasher in which a utensil dropped into the heating element, starting the fire.

At the Sanibel home, a pool heater caught on fire – luckily while the occupants were there.

“It was only a few more minutes away from being a serious situation,” Pawul said.

He also reported that the prior week, the Captiva station was called across the street to assist with a child locked in a vehicle. The crews were able to gain access into the vehicle and the child is OK.

The district has completed inspecting the commercial buildings on the island.

“We finished our annual fire inspections,” Pawul said.

He added that the businesses have a 30-day window to address any violations.

“We then go back and see if they complied,” Pawul said.

Also during the meeting, he reported that the engagement letter for the district’s auditor has been drafted. The annual audit is estimated to cost about $14,500 this year, compared to $13,000 last year.

Pawul explained to the commissioners that he had been approached by the CCA about participating again in the Annual ABC Gala. In prior years, the district has donated a ride on its fire truck as an auction item. He continued that the CCA is requesting a different donation from the district this year.

“Their request this year is a dinner cooked at the fire house by the firefighters,” Pawul said.

He noted that similar events are not uncommon, but they are usually fundraisers for a fire agency.

Commissioner Sherrill Sims questioned what would happen if a call comes in during dinner.

“We’ve always done the ride,” she added.

“I’m all in favor for the truck ride. The dinner – I would just be opposed,” Commissioner C.W. Kilgore said, adding that it would take planning, cooking and cleaning up. “It’s an imposition on the guys.”

Pawul noted that the CCA’s donation request last year was for a ride on the district’s new fire boat, rather than the truck. He added that the district declined that due to training and safety concerns.

Commissioner Jeffrey Brown wanted clarification on where the proceeds from the gala go – the CCA, CCA Foundation or both. He voiced concerns about the funds going to CCA operations and such.

“I’m very much supportive of continuing as we have in past years – and supporting the foundation,” Sims said, referring to sticking with the truck ride.


– Pawul reported that the district is close to completing the necessary requirements to have its designation as a StormReady Community renewed through the National Weather Service.

“We’ll be compliant again for another three years,” he said.

It has maintained the designation since 2005.

“We were the first ones to do it,” Sims said of the local area.

– Pawul reported that he recently reached out to Lee County’s attorney for a legal opinion on the district using its approximately $2,200 in impact fees toward a new radio for the new truck.

He noted that the radio will cost just under $5,000.