Timeline: Orlando Fire Department response to Pulse attack

The National Police Foundation provided a timeline of the Orlando Fire Department's response to the 2016 terror attack at Pulse nightclub along with its findings of how the department handled the mass casualty event and how it can improve.

The gunman opened fire at the gay nightclub in south downtown Orlando just after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50 others.

The timeline below is based on the Orlando Fire Department computer-aided dispatch record made available to the public.  

Just before 2 a.m. The suspect parked a rented car in the parking lot of the neighboring car shop, Pro Tint & Detailing, and walked south toward the Pulse nightclub.

2:02 a.m. The suspect, armed with a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic .223-caliber rifle --military-style rifle-- and a Glock 17, 9 mm handgun, entered the Pulse nightclub and began shooting.

2:03 a.m. Fire Department dispatchers radioed an initial message for response to a gunshot wound and recommended an engine and a rescue. The lieutenant at OFD Station 5, located across the street from the car shop and Pulse, radioed OFD dispatch that he had heard active gunfire and had locked down the station. 

2:05 a.m. OFD dispatchers upgraded the call to a first alarm medical and dispatched two engines, two rescues, two districts and a heavy rescue to stage at Gore Street and South Orange Avenue.

2:10 a.m. No more gunshots were heard being fired by the suspect until the final breach.

2:12 a.m. A Fire Department rescue that had just completed an unrelated patient drop-off at Orlando Regional Medical Center staged directly behind Station 5.

2:13 a.m. After Station 5 was cleared by an OPD officer, a Fire Department staffer implemented Simple Triage and Rapid Transport, or START, and mass casualty incident tagging protocols. They opened the bay door and began triaging and treating patients.

2:14 a.m. OFD personnel at the Gore Street and South Orange Avenue staging location initiated mass casualty incident (MCI) procedures. An OFD assistant chief was dispatched to the call.

2:16 a.m. District 1 established the OFD command post at East Kaley Street and South Orange Avenue, behind Station 5. First patient transported by OFD to ORMC.
2:20 a.m. After calling Fire Department dispatch to ask if any assistance was needed, Rural/Metro South called back and OFD dispatch asked for all available units to provide support.

2:22 a.m. Two patient triage and treatment areas were established: the primary one behind the Einstein Bros. Bagels store and the second near the unified command center behind Station 5. Staging was also moved to Lake Beauty Drive and South Orange Avenue, closer to the two triage and treatment areas.

2:26 a.m. The Fire Department requested mutual aid from Orange County Fire Rescue, which dispatched all available units and command staff.

2:33 a.m. Five rescues, two captains and a battalion chief from Orange County Fire Rescue arrived on scene. An Fire Rescue assistant chief went to the Orlando Fire Department command post and the battalion chief was assigned as the staging officer.

2:35 a.m. The suspect called 911 and told the call-taker that he “did the shooting in Orlando.” The call lasted 50 seconds.

2:48 a.m. During a conversation between the suspect and an Orlando Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team sergeant, the suspect advised he was wearing an explosive vest and claimed there was a vehicle in the parking lot with explosives inside. As a result, the unified command center was moved from behind Station 5 to south of Pulse, but the Fire Department command post remained behind Station 5.

2:56 a.m. The Fire Department dispatch notified the Office of Emergency Management director of the ongoing mass casualty incident. 

3:25 a.m. After a report indicated that gunfire was heard in the lobby of Orlando Regional Medical Center, the hospital was locked down for approximately one hour and implemented its Code Silver active shooter plan.

3:28 a.m. Fire Department dispatch lifted the lockdown and transports resumed.

4:08 a.m. Fire Department Group 1, the Arson and Bomb Squad, was paged. 

4:09 a.m. After the explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, response was initiated and a group page was sent by OFD dispatch to the department's Arson and Bomb Squad, members arrived and secured the exterior of the nightclub and began to address the suspect’s vehicle.

4:13 a.m. The Fire Department command post moved to its original location, behind Station 5, and staging was repositioned to a parking lot at the corner of Cook Avenue and Pennsylvania Street. The triage and treatment location was also relocated two blocks north on South Orange Avenue.

4:21 a.m. After calling and paging the on-duty deputy chief, Fire Department dispatch paged all of Group 2 -- the chief and the three deputy chiefs.

5:02 a.m. Orange County Sheriff’s Office Hazardous Device Team personnel detonated an explosive charge, partially breaching the west wall of the nightclub.

5:15 a.m. Orlando Police Department SWAT team officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect firing numerous rounds. OPD reported the suspect was down after the exchange of gunfire.

5:19 a.m. Fire Department dispatch radioed that a police officer was injured. The Fire Department attempted to respond to the injured officer, but before contact could be made, Orlando police transported the officer to ORMC in a police vehicle.

5:27 a.m. Fire Department command post moved farther north on South Orange Avenue. 

5:50 a.m. Fire Department dispatch left a voicemail for Chief Roderick Williams.

6:09 a.m. Orlando Fire Department dispatch begins demobilizing units and instructs all units to report to the department command post for debriefing prior to departing the scene. 6:10 a.m. Williams was en route to the Pulse scene.

6:21 a.m. OFD assistant chief and two district chiefs met and transitioned incident command to District Chief.

6:22 a.m. Williams arrived at the scene.

11:15 a.m. The Orlando Police Department SWAT, Orange County Sheriff's Office Hazardous Device Team and Federal Bureau of Investigation SWAT team officially determined the Pulse nightclub and the suspect’s vehicle were safe.