TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The Tallahassee Fire Department reported Friday a firefighter has died in the line of duty.
Sad news came from the Tallahassee Fire Department Friday morning.
"It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that the Tallahassee Fire Department reports the Line of Duty Death of Engineer Jeffery Atkinson," a TFD news release said.
Engineer Jeff Atkinson, 43, died Thursday night while on duty. TFD said his death was unrelated to any recent fires.
Since news of his death, local agencies and friends of the family are reflecting on his life.
The Tallahassee Fire Department says it's a big family, so, losing him is heartbreaking. In fact, a spokeswoman fought back tears talking to us Friday morning as this news is still setting in.
Jeff Atkinson worked for TFD for 17 years. He started out as a firefighter and worked his way up to an engineer.
He was based at fire station number 8 on Hartsfield Road. Friday, the station hung a black wreath and ribbon outside to represent the loss of one of their own. City commissioner Scott Maddox says he was a close friend of Atkinson and his family.
"The city of Tallahassee is a family, and we're all bound together by the willingness and the desire to serve. No one did that more than Jeffrey Atkinson," said Maddox. "I mean, this is a person that spent nearly 20 years of his life running toward the sound of danger to help other people. He will sorely be missed."
The viewing for Jeffery Atkinson will be from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday, at Bevis Funeral Home located at 200 John Knox Road. The funeral is set for 11 a.m. on Monday, at The Pavilion at The Centre of Tallahassee located at 2415 North Monroe Street #500.
TFD is asking people to extend their thoughts and prayers to Atkinson's wife, daughter and family during this difficult time.
Flags have been lowered to half-staff at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park in Maryland in honor of Engineer Atkinson and will remain lowered over the coming days.
The last Tallahassee firefighter to die in the line of duty was Lewin Spear in 1930. His name is engraved at the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial at the state capitol.
Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Leon County Sheriff's Office and the Tallahassee Police Department have all issued statements on Facebook regarding Atkinson's death:
"The City of Tallahassee is deeply saddened by the loss of Tallahassee Fire Department Engineer Jeff Atkinson, only a day after his 43rd birthday. My heart goes out to his wife Nina, four-year old daughter Austin, and his other family and colleagues during this difficult time. I urge our community to celebrate his life as a brave first responder and public servant of our City." - Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum.
"The Tallahassee Police Department offers our deepest sympathy and prayers for the family, friends, and co-workers of Engineer Atkinson." - The Tallahassee Police Department
"The Leon County Sheriff's Office sends our prayers and condolences to the family, friends and TFD family of Engineer Jeffery Atkinson. " - The Leon County Sheriff's Office
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