• Orange County to name road after firefighters killed in blaze 30 years ago

    By: Sarah Wilson , Sarahbeth Ackerman


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County is paving the way to name a road after two firefighters killed in the line of duty nearly 30 years ago.

    Acting Lt. Todd Aldridge and firefighter Mark Benge died while battling a blaze at a T-shirt shop in Lake Buena Vista Shopping Plaza on Feb. 24, 1989.

    The Orange County Board of County Commissioners will vote Tuesday morning to name a road in their honor off Forsyth Road near University Boulevard.

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    It was a Friday afternoon when engine 36 rushed to the fire. At the time, fire crews said light smoke was showing from attic.

    Based on the fatal fire investigation report completed by the Orange County Fire and Rescue division investigation team, the pair were inside searching for the spot where the fire started.

    Investigators said Aldridge ordered Benge to start pulling ceiling tiles to check where the fire was coming from.

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    When the area was clear, they continued making their way into the store. But 10 minutes into their search, investigators say the ceiling gave out and collapsed.

    Investigators said there was a third firefighter inside at the time, but he managed to get to safety.

    Autopsy tests showed both firefighters had high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood streams. 

    In addition to naming the road after Aldridge and Benge, Orange County Fire Rescue is also holding a memorial ceremony in their honor in two weeks.

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