Recollection of Lewkowicz Accident
(From retired FF Jim Fleming)
February 10, 1969 was a cool
day and we all knew we would be fighting a house fire that
day because of the use of portable kerosene heaters and
cooking stoves. About 12:30pm we got a house fire alarm
about ten blocks away. We responded from Station #2 and went
south on Parramore Street. When we reached South Street,
there were no vehicles stopped at the intersection. This
concerned me. The buildings were close to South Street and
the windows were painted and you could not see through them
on to South Street.
Since we were six blocks from the house fire address, I
looked up to see if I could see the color of the smoke.
There was no smoke. At this time the semi-truck hit us dead
center in the fire pump. I was standing in the catwalk
between the hose beds when I was thrown down onto the left
hose bed. The deluge gun mounted on the left hose bed kept
me from going between the two trucks. I saw the truck driver
come out of his seat, hit the windshield, and return to his
I became airborne and landed in front of the building on the
southwest corner on the water meter. When I got up an
elderly man asked me if I was all right. I went back to the
truck and helped Walt Busby and Bill Anderson out of the
crew seat. Rescue-1 stopped to assist the injured and they
transported John. Bob Shane had the task of caring for
Johnís injuries enroute to Orange Memorial Hospital. When
Lt. Charles Hoffner, Eng. Herman Clarke, FF Walter Busby, FF
Bill Anderson and I arrived at the hospital, our injuries
were minor compared to Johnís injuries. Dr. Turnipseed
advised Chief Mel Rivenbark that he did not believe John
My wife, Margaret, found out about the Station #2 FFís death
on her way to Station #2 from the radio. She knew all six
men and was not given any information at Station #2 by the
substitute crew. She was sent to Orange Memorial Hospital,
where she found me injured but alive.
John Lewkowicz was given a full Firefighterís funeral,
including his last ride on a fire engine. Johnís grave is
marked and is the first space off the pavement in Greenwood
cemeteryís block 6, Section 39, Lot 8. The fire turned out
to be a pot on the stove.
John Lewkowicz and I graduated from the Orlando Fire Academy
in the same training class together. John was married and
had a daughter and a son under five years of age when he was
killed. John was the newest man in our 6-man crew.
Therefore, he got to ride the tailboard as the hydrant-man.
John had been in the Air Force for 8 years as a
meteorologist. John was 30 years old at the time of his