Polk County Commissioners will decide on $200,000 settlement for family after deadly fire


BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County commissioners will consider a $200,000 settlement with the family of Lorretta Pickard at their board meeting Tuesday morning.

Pickard, 76, died in her burning Lakeland home in November 2018. An 8 On Your Side investigation uncovered that the first arriving crew from Polk County Fire Rescue never made entry into her home. Pickard remained on the phone with a 911 dispatcher for 12 minutes.

Captain James Williams shared video from the fire scene on social media. He later resigned in March after our investigation. Fire Chief Tony Stravino retired in June.

Pickard’s family announced their intent to sue the county in April.

Both the family and the county declined to comment on the settlement as litigation is pending.

The $200,000 settlement is the maximum amount allowed by law.

The County Commission meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning, follow 8 On Your Side for updates.

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