On Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, Florida’s Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department added three names to the city’s memorial for firefighters who’ve died in the line of duty. From the left: Capt. Thomas Barber, Lt. Mario Moya, and firefighter Engineer Michael Freeland. City of Jacksonville photo.
Freeland, 36, was one of three names added to the Jacksonville Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wednesday, Dec. 8, during a ceremony in the Sunshine State to honor those who fell in the line of duty in 2021.
Freeland died after trying to free a female passenger from a crashed U-Haul truck along Aviation Avenue near Cecil Airport. Firefighters initially suspected he was shocked to death by a live electrical line downed during the crash.
Freeland’s funeral service was held Nov. 20 in Jacksonville, and he was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
Barber, 51, died June 14 from a heart attack. Because he perished within 24 hours of his last service call, his death is considered a line of duty fatality under the city’s policy. A veteran of the US Navy, Barber served 21 years in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
Moya, 51, died of COVID-19 on Aug. 17. He also was a veteran of the US Navy and had served the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department for 17 years.
Both men are buried in Jacksonville National Cemetery.
Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.
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