The City of Pembroke Pines was first incorporated in January 1960 after a group of residents asked for an election to create a new City, formally known as The Village of Pembroke Pines. The population was 1,429 and the City was one square mile. It was during this time that the Pembroke Pines Fire Department started as a volunteer group which included Ron Czplicki becoming the City’s first volunteer Fire Chief. Originally called the West Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department because of its location west of Hollywood, Florida; the first fire station was adjacent to the existing North Perry Field, an airport used to train B-17 pilots. In 1973, the City hired its first four (4) paid firefighters and John Galloway as the first paid Fire Chief from 1973 through 1979. Chief Galloway was succeeded by Fire Chief Phil Rosenthal, who was hired in 1979. Chief Rosenthal is credited for transitioning the once volunteer fire department to a professionally paid organization.
Chief Rosenthal retired in 1991 and was succeeded by Chief Vito Splendorio who brought 25 years of service and experience from the City of Hollywood Fire Department. He advanced the Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue Department into one of the most successful and efficient fire departments in Florida. The Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue Department grew as the City flourished, experiencing its greatest growth immediately after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. After 16 years of service with Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue, Chief Splendorio retired in 2006 and was succeeded by John Picarello. Fire Chief John Picarello is the first Fire Chief to have come up through the ranks of The Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue Department. Under Chief Picarello’s leadership, The Fire Department continued to progress and be a professional Class 1 organization.
On August 1, 2022 Fire Chief John Picarello retired after thirty-seven (37) years of service, sixteen (16) of them as the Fire Chief. During his tenure as Fire Chief, he made great strides, placing the safety and well being of the men and women of the fire department first. He made effective changes that put our Fire Department in a position to succeed for years to come. Fire Chief John Picarello was succeeded by our current Fire Chief Marcelino Rodriguez and we also introduced our first Deputy Fire Chief Ruben Troncoso.
Fortunately, from the growth seen in the 1990s, Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue evolved to an all hazards emergency response organization, earning and maintaining a Class 1 Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating since 1998. In 2007, the Department completed its transition of all front line units to Advanced Life Support (ALS) units to better serve the community. The Department continuously trains in the latest techniques and technology of Emergency Medical Services and Firefighting to provide the highest level of service to its citizens.
Today, Pembroke Pines is the second most populous city in Broward County. To meet the demands, the Fire Department has grown to six (6) fire stations serving over 170,000 residents in 34 square miles, with 198 combat personnel, eleven (11) administrative officers, five (5) auxiliary staff members, seven (7) prevention inspectors and two (2) community risk reduction specialists.
The Fire Department also prepares through pre-fire planning of all high-risk areas in the City which include but is not limited to hospitals, educational facilities, shopping malls, the Civic Center, Interstate-75, US 27 Highway and North Perry Airport. Currently, the Fire Department apparatus resources include two (2) Command Vehicles, two (2) Aerial Platforms, six (6) Fire Engines, eight (8) Rescues, an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Unit (ARFF), and a Tactical Support Unit (TSU). With these resources, Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue responded to 24,557 service calls in 2022, approximately 85% being medical emergencies. The Fire Department is able to meet the service demand of the community thanks to the professional, dedicated, and well-trained firefighters who proudly serve the Citizens of Pembroke Pines.