First Responders

Funerals Slated for 2 Firefighters Killed in the Line of Duty

November 17, 2021Noelle Wiehe
Firefighters Killed

Baxter Springs Fire Department volunteer Lt. Malachi Abraham Brown, left, will be buried in Kansas Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. The funeral service for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Engineer Michael Lee Freeland, right, is slated for Saturday, Nov. 20, in Jacksonville, Florida. Photos courtesy of the Ottawa (Kansas) Fire Department and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Two firefighters killed in the line of duty last week will be laid to rest this weekend.

The funeral service for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Engineer Michael Lee Freeland is slated for Saturday, Nov. 20, in Jacksonville, Florida. Baxter Springs Fire Department volunteer Lt. Malachi Abraham Brown will be buried in Kansas Sunday.

Freeland, 36, died Thursday while trying to free a seriously injured female passenger from a wrecked U-Haul truck. Initial reports indicated that he collapsed after exiting the rear of the vehicle. The incident remains under investigation, and no cause of death has been established, but suspicion has focused on a live electrical line that fell into the street during the crash.

Firefighters Killed In The Line of Duty
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighters pay tribute to fallen Engineer Michael Lee Freeland on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, as his body is transferred to the department before his upcoming burial. Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

Brown, 32, died Wednesday at Missouri’s Mercy Burn Center – Springfield. He’d been in a medically induced coma since he was injured during an Oct. 15 blaze in Baxter Springs. An ambulance rushed him to a Joplin hospital, and then he was airlifted to the Springfield burn unit. 

Investigators continue to probe the incident, but the Baxter Springs Police Department announced that Brown had been searching for potential victims in the scorched structure when he was injured.

Freeland’s public viewing is scheduled for Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. Funeral services begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. He will be buried in Jacksonville’s Evergreen Cemetery.

Firefighters Killed In The Line of Duty
Baxter Springs Fire Lt. Malachi Brown died Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at Missouri’s Mercy Burn Center — Springfield. The Kansas firefighter was 32 and leaves behind his wife, Jessica, and three children. Photo courtesy of the Miami County (Kansas) Sheriff’s Office.

Alphonso West Mortuary in Jacksonville is handling arrangements. 

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department officials said flags were flown at half-staff in Freeland’s honor at the agency’s headquarters and at his station, Station 73.

Brown’s funeral service will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Tennessee Prairie Friends Church in Galena, Kansas. The burial will follow at Baxter Springs Cemetery. 

The Derfelt Funeral Home Baxter Chapel is handling arrangements.

Read Next: Missing Fire Chief’s Body Discovered in Cascade Range

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

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.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
US Speeds Up Abrams Tank Delivery to Ukraine War Zone

The original plan was to send Ukraine 31 of the newer M1A2 Abrams, which could have taken a year or ...

March 21, 2023Associated Press
Coffee Or Die Photo
US: War Crimes on All Sides in Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict

The Biden administration announced Monday that it has determined all sides in the brutal conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

March 20, 2023Associated Press
military pilots cancer rates
Higher Cancer Rates Found in Military Pilots, Ground Crews

In its yearlong study of almost 900,000 service members who flew on or worked on military aircraft b...

March 20, 2023Associated Press
whiskey pour
Veterans Lead the Way Among America’s Growing Craft Distilleries

American veterans are taking the lessons they learned in the military and changing the craft distilling industry.

March 20, 2023Mac Caltrider
military suicide veteran suicide
Military Moves To Cut Suicides, But Defers Action on Guns

In a memo released Thursday, Austin called for the establishment of a suicide prevention working gro...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
us military drills japan-south korea
US, Partners Stage Military Drills Amid Japan-South Korea Talks

The Sea Dragon 23 exercises that started on Wednesday will culminate in more than 270 hours of in-fl...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
leo jenkins a word like god
‘A Word Like God’: New Book From Army Ranger Leo Jenkins

In his latest poetry collection, Ranger-turned-writer Leo Jenkins turns away from war to explore cosmic themes of faith, fatherhood, and art.

March 16, 2023Mac Caltrider
us drone
Pentagon Video Shows Russian Jet Dumping Fuel on US Drone

The Pentagon on Thursday released video of what it said was a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a ...

March 16, 2023Associated Press
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved