• Neighbors seek more information after paramedic student assaulted near fire station

    By: Amanda Warford


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Twenty-four hours after a woman was attacked on the Westside, neighbors are on edge. 

    Brenda Flowers moved to Collins Road three years ago for a reason.

    "I feel safe with all the neighbors close by and the fire station right across the street," she told Action News.

    But on Wednesday, a woman told police she was sexually assaulted just feet away from the Fire Station 52's back gate. There, Action News found a footpath through a thick tree line.

    "Upon learning the details of this incredibly reprehensible and despicable crime, we were saddened and above all else angered," said Tom Francis, public information officer for the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.

    Francis said the victim is a paramedics student, and according to a heavily redacted JSO police report, she was attacked after leaving the fire station early Thursday morning. Following the attack, she returned to the station for help, banging on multiple doors before passing out near the kitchen. She later awoke, called 911, and was found outside by rescuers with a deep cut to her side and multiple lacerations on her upper thighs.

    The only information about the suspect in the report is that he is a white male, leaving Flowers wanting to know more.

    "What do they look like? And are they on foot or on a bicycle or in a car even? Just to know what to look out for," she said.

    Action News requested those details from the JSO, and was sent the following statement:

    "The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives are currently working the case. Besides what has been released at this point, there is nothing new to add. People need to be cautious and aware of their surroundings all the time. As more information develops and becomes releasable, we will keep you updated."

    "There's just a lot we don’t know yet," said Francis. "We trust that investigators will provide us with those details as they learn more."

    Francis said the fire department is doing everything they can to help, but Action News has learned there are no surveillance cameras on station property.

    "I'm surprised to hear that," said Flowers. "I figured they would. That way you could see the people that do these things."

    Francis said the department will consider any measure to prevent another attack in the future.

    "Perhaps there will be something from this tragedy that we can learn. We will do everything we can in our nature to make sure this never happens again," he said.

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