Instructor pilot James Wagner, 64, of Lakeland, died when a plane he was in crashed into a house in Winter Haven during simulated engine failure training, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The trainee in the plane suffered minor injuries, as did a teen whose room was hit.
The station looks into the work record of Polk Fire Rescue Captain James Williams, who was been put on a desk job as investigations proceed into firefighters’ response at a fatal housefire on Rockridge Road.
ALSO: Relatives of victim Lorretta Pickard addressed the Polk County commission Tuesday. News Chanel 8 shared video of their comments on Facebook Live.
The Polk County Fire Rescue captain at the center of several investigations into a fatal fire on Rockridge Road has been placed on administrative duty, News Channel 8 reports. This morning, the family of victim Lorretta Pickard is speaking at a County Commission meeting.
Deputy County Administrator Joe Halman and Polk Fire Rescue Chief Tony Stravino defended their crews this morning in a news conference about the events surrounding the death of Loretta Pickard, 76, in a house fire on Rockridge Road. Here’s full video from their news conference:
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Dispatchers told 76-year-old Loretta Pickard that help was on the way as smoke filled her home in unincorporated north Lakeland, but logs reflect no attempt by county firefighters to enter the home and rescue her before she died, News Channel 8 reports.
A month after a hit-and-run driver left her in a ditch along Swindell Road, Elani Miller struggles with a walker every step she takes, but she still plans to graduate from New Beginnings High School with her class in May. Her mother pleads with the still-at-large driver to come forward.
Hear Ruben Garcia’s remarks after he was sworn in as Lakeland police chief in a brief ceremony at City Hall at 8 a.m. today. A more elaborate ceremony will follow in the next two to three weeks, City Manager Tony Delgado said.