Missing firefighters: More than 130 volunteers join search in Jacksonville

Volunteers step up to help find missing firefighters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville firefighters say more than 130 people have joined volunteer search efforts for the two missing firefighters lost at sea after they did not return from a fishing trip Friday.

Some of them are JFRD firefighter Brian McCluney's close friends.

"He's just one of those guys. If you ever met him, you'd help him," his district chief, Patrick Gouin, said. "He'd help you whether you knew him or not. He's just a super good dude, good fireman."

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Other volunteers have never met McCluney or Justin Walker, a firefighter from Virginia who went on the fishing trip with McCluney and never returned.


"I would want somebody to come looking for me and that's what we're all hell bent on doing, making sure these guys get home safe," Tom Olsen, who came to Jacksonville from Cape Canaveral, said.

JFRD said 36 boats launched from the Mayport boat ramp, and three aircraft joined the search from the air.

As dozens of firefighters, law enforcement and fishermen put their boats in the water, other groups were walking the coastline.

"See if there's anything we could find. Coolers, life jackets, fishing poles anything that could possibly float off of a boat," Heath Lanier said.

She and Patti Hall are wives of JFRD firefighters. They're among dozens of spouses who have joined efforts to find the missing firefighters.

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"We're here and we're gonna do everything we can to bring them home," Lanier said.

All the volunteers have the same goal – to bring McCluney and Walker home.

"I'd love to see him hug his kids, hug his wife," Gouin said. "We're supposed to go fishing this week. I'd like to do that."

JFRD said some boaters will be out until sundown Monday. They said they'll keep searching each day until they're found.