The Last Alarm

The following is a list of all of the men who have led the Jacksonville Fire Department from its inception in 1886, through the times when the department was known as the Jacksonville Fire Division and then the Department of Public Safety, and to the present day, where the department is known as the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.


Henry Bradley- December 16th, 1885

Henry J, Bradley was a volunteer firefighter who died during a massive fire that engulfed several blocks along Bay Street in downtown Jacksonville. During the fire, a wall collapsed on Bradley, killing him. His death created a movement among Jacksonville's insurance companies at the time to create a paid fire department. On July 15th, 1886, as a result of the death of Henry J. Bradley, The Jacksonville Fire Department was created

Sam Friar- 1887

Friar, a 35 year old African-American volunteer, died while fighting a fire at the T.V. Cashen Lumber Mill on Jacksonville's east side.

Sam Varnes, March 1st, 1927

Varnes was riding on Engine 2 when it slid on the wet road at 8th and Talleyrand. Engine 2 struck a telephone pole, killing Varnes.

Harry Graves, June 30th, 1933

Graves was riding the right tailboard of Ladder 2 when the truck collided with Engine 7 at the intersection of Davis and Church Streets. Six other fire fighters were injured.

Jerman Williams, March 21st, 1934

Williams was killed while working at a house fire at the intersections of State and Johnson Streets. A motorist shot Williams in the heart after being prevented from driving over a charged hose line.

William Holloway, December 24th, 1943

Holloway was driving Chief hare to a fire when the vehicle he was driving was struck by another vehicle, sending Holloway and Hare into a heavy pole.

Chief James Romedy, December 29th, 1963

Romedy died while helping evacuate trapped victims at the Roosevelt Hotel fire, largely considered as Jacksonville's deadliest fire.

Dillard Pinkston, May 22nd, 1967

Fire Fighter Dillard Pinkston died of an apparent heart attack after battling a fire on Mackinaw Street in Woodstock Park.

Arthur Hutt- May 1st, 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 VFD truck (Now Engine 42) on State Rd. 13. He was assisting the MVFD with the set up of the department's annual fundraising barbeque.

Walter W. Flowers- December 25th, 1968

Firefighter Walter Flowers is killed while riding the tailboard of Engine 13. While responding to a fire, Engine 13 was struck by an FEC train at the Atlantic Boulevard crossing. Flowers was thrown 105 feet from the tailboard.

Newton Eugene Johnson, August 6th, 1970

Johnson, a roving officer assigned to Engine 14 for the day, was killed when the roof collapsed during a fire at the A & P Supermarket in at the intersection of San Juan Avenue and Herschel Street in Avondale.

View this fire in the Old Fire Gallery

Leon J. King, September 3rd, 1975

Captin King collapsed and died at the scene of a house fire at 2054 Lotus Road.


Glen Miley, December 18th, 1975

Miley, a 20 year old volunteer firefighter, was thrown from Engine 24 while responding on a run. Miley hit his head on the pavement and died from his injuries.


Ronald H. Jones- September 18th, 1976

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

Joseph F. Stichway- May 25th, 1979

Lieutenant Stichway was killed while trying to rescue nine welders who were trapped after a gas explosion in a barge. The Jacksonville Fire Fighter of the Year award is now named after Stichway.

William Albritton, August 16th, 1986

Albritton died of a heart attack shortly after leaving Fire Station 27.

Edgar Cowart- November 6th, 1986

Cowart, drowned after his boat, Marine 3, capsized while answering a distress call under the Hart Bridge. Cowart received the 1986 Fire Fighter of the Year award for his bravery, making him Jacksonville's first two time fire fighter of the year.

Leon L. Benton- December 27th, 1990

Benton collapsed and died of an unspecified heart ailment while participating in a pick up basketball game during physical training at Fire Station One.

Roger Taylor- May 16th, 2000

District Chief of Rescue Roger Taylor died of a heart attack shortly after leaving the station.

Glenn Rogers- July 3rd, 2000

Lieutenant Glenn Rogers, of Rescue 22, died of a heart attack shortly after leaving the station.

Nolen Sauls- August 7th, 2000

Sauls died of a heart attack shortly after leaving the station.

Karl Kramer- May 28th- 2005

Firefighter-Recruit Karl Kramer died of heatstroke after leading his recruit class in a training run around the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Training Academy.

Neal Tarkington- October 7th, 2008

Engineer Neal Tarkington, a longtime member of the Special Operations team assigned to Ladder 4, died of a heart attack shortly after leaving the station.


History of the JFRD

Additional Fire-Rescue History

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