In the Line of Duty

Henry J. Bradley
Dec. 16, 1885

Henry J. Bradley was the first Jacksonville firefighter to die in the line of duty. Mr. Bradley was killed when a blazing wall collapsed on him as he fought a fire that engulfed businesses, warehouses and wharves along several blocks of Bay Street in downtown. His death led to a movement among Jacksonville's insurance companies that had suffered losses in the fire to create a paid fire department. On July 15, 1886, the City Council created the Jacksonville Fire Department.

Sam L. Varnes
March 1, 1927

Firefighter Sam L. Varnes was crushed to death under Engine 2 after being thrown from the apparatus as it skidded on the wet pavement and crashed into a pole at Eighth Street and Tallyrand Avenue while rushing to a fire.

Harry L. Graves
June 30, 1933

Fireman Harry L. Graves was killed when the Station 4, Hook and Ladder Co. No. 2 truck on which he was riding was broadsided at Davis and Church streets by Fire Engine No. 7 rushing to the same fire. Mr. Graves, riding on the right running board, was directly in the path of the engine as it crashed. Six other firemen were injured, three seriously, in the department's worst crash in its history.

Jerman J. Williams
March 21, 1934

Fireman Jerman J. Williams was shot and killed while attempting to flag down a driver to keep him from running over a fire hose that was providing water to a house fire at Johnson and State streets. Ironically, Mr. Williams, the son-in-law of Fire Chief W.Q. Dowling, had taken the place of Harry Graves on Hook and Ladder Co. No. 2 at Station 4, rode in the same seat and even used his locker. Mr. Graves was killed in a crash involving two fire engines in 1933.

William E. Holloway
Dec. 24, 1943

Fireman William E. Holloway was killed in a collision with another automobile at Church and Ocean streets downtown as he was driving Fire Chief George E. Hare to a church fire. The collision caused the department vehicle to veer into a heavy pole, and Mr. Holloway, the chief's chauffeur, was pinned inside. Chief Hare also was injured in the accident.

Asst. Fire Chief James R. Romedy
Dec. 29, 1963

Asst. Fire Chief James R. Romedy died of a heart attack while attempting to rescue trapped guests from the 10th and 11th floors during the Roosevelt Hotel fire. Twenty one guests died in Jacksonville's deadliest fire, while 479 were rescued from the smoke-filled hotel.

Dillard D. Pinkston
May 22, 1967

Fireman Dillard D. Pinkston died of an apparent heart attack while reeling in a hose after extinguishing a garage fire on Mackinaw Street in Woodstock Park.

Arthur W. Hutt
May 1, 1968

Arthur W. Hutt, a 15-year-old junior fireman with the Mandarin Volunteer Fire Department, was killed when he and a large sign he was holding down were blown off the back of a Mandarin Volunteer Fire Department truck on State Road 13. Firemen were taking the 4-by-6-foot sign advertising the department's annual fund-raising barbecue to the intersection of State Road 13 and Beauclerc Road.

Walter W. Flowers
Dec. 25, 1968

Fireman Walter W. Flowers was killed when he was thrown from Engine 13 after it was struck by a Florida East Coast train at an Atlantic Boulevard crossing. Engine 13 was en route to a Southside fire at the time of the accident, and Mr. Flowers had been riding on the tailboard. Three other firefighters were injured in the accident.
 

Lt. Newton Eugene Johnson
Aug. 6, 1970

Lt. Newton Eugene Johnson was overcome by heat and smoke and died when the roof of an A;P Supermarket at San Juan and Hershel streets collapsed while he was fighting a fire inside. It was his first day as a roving officer assigned to Engine 14. Lt. Johnson was posthumopusly honored as the Fireman of the Year.

Capt. Leon J. King
Sept. 3, 1975

Capt. Leon J. King Jr. died of an apparent heart attack at the scene of a kitchen fire on Lotus Road. After the fire had been knocked down, King took off his mask and went back inside to help with overhaul work. He then walked outside and collapsed.

Glen A. Miley
Dec. 18, 1975

Volunteer Fire Private Glen A. Miley was killed when he struck his head on the pavement after losing his balance and falling off a fire truck as it made a turn at Ribault Scenic Drive and Forrest Hills Road. Firefighters were responding to a minor heater fire on Ramsgate Street at the time.

Ronald H. Jones
Sept 18, 1976

Volunteer fireman Ronald H. Jones was struck by a car and killed as he walked back to his car after helping extinguish a woods fire off 103rd Street.

Lt. Joseph F. Stichway
May 25, 1979

Lt. Joseph F. Stichway was killed while attempting to rescue workers trapped in the hull of a burning oil barge at the Jacksonville Shipyards. Overwhelmed by gas fumes, Lt. Stichway fell off a 40-foot ladder as he was rushing to reach the workers and lead them to safety. He was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal, the Fire Department's highest honor. Twenty one firefighters and six barge crewmen were injured in the fire.

William E. Albritton
Aug. 16, 1986

Engineer William E. Albritton died of a heart attack shortly after leaving work at Station 27.

Edgar A. Cowart
Nov. 6, 1986

Firefighter Edgar A. Cowart drowned when he was trapped under an overturned fire rescue boat that had struck a bridge piling while answering a distress call near the Hart Bridge. Marine 3 was responding to a call for help from a tugboat at the time of the accident.

Leon L. Benton
Dec. 27, 1990

Firefighter Leon L. Benton died from a heart attack after collapsing during a basketball game at Fire Station 1. Benton, who played on the department's basketball team, was working overtime at the time training for a state basketball tournament for fire department teams.

 

Chief Roger H. Taylor
May 16, 2000

District Rescue Chief Roger H. Taylor died of a heart attack shortly after leaving the station. Taylor, a paramedic, was a member of the first class of firefighters to complete their training after Jacksonville and Duval County consolidated governments.

Lt. Glenn A. Rodgers
July 3, 2000

Lt.Glenn A. Rodgers died of a heart attack shortly after leaving work at Station 22.

Lt. Nolen A. Sauls
Aug. 7, 2000

Rescue Lt. Nolen A. Sauls died of a heart attack shortly after leaving work at Station 28.

Karl Kramer
May 28, 2005

Firefighter Recruit Karl Kramer died of complications from heatstroke nine days after collapsing during a two-mile training run at the Fire Rescue Training Academy. The son of a Jacksonville firefighter, Mr. Kramer was just two weeks away from graduating from the academy.

Neal Tarkington
October 11, 2008
Engineer Neal Tarkington had more than dozen years on the job before he passed away at age 43, just a few hours after coming home from a busy shift at Fire Station 4. Mr. Tarkington is remembered for his attention to detail, a keen ability to mentor as well as his sense of humor.

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