Hundreds gather to honor life of Jacksonville firefighter Mike Freeland

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds gathered at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church Saturday to honor the life of fallen JFRD engineer Mike Freeland.

Freeland was tragically killed in the line of duty last week as he and a team of firefighters worked to rescue a woman trapped inside a U-Haul that crashed into a light pole.

Freeland worked as a firefighter for over seven years and as an engineer for over two. He was assigned to Station 73.

JFRD Chief Keith Powers said Freeland was working on a prolonged extrication around 1 a.m. when he stepped out of the back of the U-Haul and collapsed.

Freeland was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“He received advanced life-support care from almost the second he collapsed until the doctors at UF Health called him,” Powers says.

Freeland’s cause of death has not yet been announced by the medical examiner’s office.

His aunt, Hazel Yates-Campbell, said they were beyond proud of the man he grew up to be. “He is the kind of young man that every parent would want to have or raise,” she told Action News Jax reporter Ben Ryan.

“This loss is a loss that our family, we will probably never get over it,” Freeland’s great-uncle, Kenneth Yates, said. “We know we live through it.”

Freeland was engaged to former Action News Jax reporter Brittany Jones. Our deepest condolences and love to her, Mike’s family and friends, and anyone else who knew and loved him.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.