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A three-minute response

Nathan Morrow, maintenance supervisor at Lakeview Center of Walton County, in the maintenance building following a fire on the DeFuniak Springs campus.

DeFuniak Springs, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2023) – A three-minute response from Walton County Fire Rescue ensured clients at Lakeview Center could continue receiving the mental health care they need. 

The call no manager wants

On a Thursday morning at 12:34 a.m., a phone call woke Nathan Morrow, maintenance supervisor at Lakeview Center of Walton County. It was the central alarm station notifying him that one of the buildings he manages had a smoke detector activation. While he was getting ready to drive to the facility, he received another call from the alarm company saying a full motion detector near a side entry door had set off the security alarm. Within seconds, he learned it was the fire department breaking into their facility to extinguish a fire.

The three-minute response

Walton County Fire Rescue Station No. 2 was on the scene in within a three minute response where Morrow oversees nine buildings on 12 acres of land. Three of those buildings are 24-hour residential treatment facilities where clients are in 24/7 treatment programs. Fortunately, the fire occurred in the outpatient services building, and no one was inside at the time. 

Fire damage minimized thanks to a three-minute response from Walton County Fire Rescue.

It could have been worse

 “From a maintenance standpoint, I was so proud of the fire department. Not only did they arrive and extinguish the fire very quickly, but they also looked for an entry point that would cause the least amount of building damage,” said Morrow. 

Once inside, the crew extinguished the fire containing damages to a staff bathroom and smoke damage in a few other rooms. Had the fire department not been so responsive and professional, Morrow said the fire could have gotten into the attic and ravaged several thousand square feet very quickly. “It could have taken out the whole hallway,” he said. “We would have needed to cease outpatient care until repairs were made.”

Morrow has great respect for this community resource. “They are a valued community partner which is what our organization tries to be too. Because of their professional crew, our clients didn’t experience breaks in receiving important mental health care services. Our entire team is grateful to them for that.”

Learn more about Lakeview Center of Walton County.