Fallen Jacksonville (FL) Firefighter’s Funeral Set for Saturday

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue -Engineer Michael L. Freeland. (Photo: Jacksonville Fire and Rescue)

Dan Scanlan

The Florida Times-Union

(MCT)

A 36-year-old Jacksonville firefighter will be laid to rest on Saturday after he died trying to rescue a woman from a truck crash on Aviation Avenue.

Engineer Michael L. Freeland‘s name also will be added to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial in three weeks at Fire Station 1 at 600 N. Liberty St.

Freeland’s funeral service will be at 11 a.m. at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church at 1118 W. Beaver St., followed by interment at Evergreen Cemetery at 4535 N. Main St. A viewing will take place 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the church. The family has not announced whether the public will be allowed to attend the services. But the fire department plans a full escort for Freeland’s body to the burial.

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What happened to Michael Freeland?

Freeland, a firefighter for seven years assigned to Station 73, was working what was called a “difficult and prolonged extrication” at a Nov. 10 truck crash site outside Cecil Airport, according to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. A woman driving a U-Haul truck crashed just after midnight less than a mile from his station.

The truck hit a power pole, caving in the front of the vehicle and making it difficult to get the woman out. So Freeland climbed into the back but later collapsed as he was stepping out, Chief Keith Powers said. He was declared dead at the hospital, and no cause has been announced yet.

Other fallen Jacksonville firefighters

The fire department lost two other members this year. Capt. Thomas Barber, 51, died June 14. The 21-year veteran’s cause of death was not released. Then on Aug. 17, the COVID-19 virus claimed 17-year veteran, Lt. Mario Moya, also 51.

Freeland’s name will join their names when all three are added at the city’s annual Fallen Firefighters memorial, read off at the “Last Alarm Roll Call.” The last name added on that wall was for Engineer Neal Tarkington, a 43-year-old special-operations member of Ladder 4 who died of a heart attack after leaving the station on Oct. 11, 2008.

dscanlan@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4549

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