Fire crews, officers give final salute to fallen firefighter - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fire crews, officers give final salute to fallen firefighter

The group gathered around the ambulance carrying French's body to console one another and give a final salute. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The group gathered around the ambulance carrying French's body to console one another and give a final salute. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jonathan and Lisa French Jonathan and Lisa French
Don Howard (Source: WAVE 3 News) Don Howard (Source: WAVE 3 News)

GLENDALE, KY (WAVE) - A mother and son, who both served as volunteer firefighters, were almost finished putting out the flames on a van that caught fire on Interstate 65 when tragedy struck Wednesday morning.

Around 3:30 a.m. a semi traveling down I-65 hit Lisa French, 43, and her son Jonathan French, 25 who were outside of the fire truck near the 87 mile marker, then hit the fire truck.

[PREVIOUS STORY: KSP: Glendale firefighters hit in fatal I-65 accident were mother and son]

Hardin County EMS Supervisor and firefighter Don Howard arrived on the scene moments after the crash. He said his mind was going a million different directions as he tried to help the firefighters.

"We help total strangers everyday but when it's one of our own, it's totally different," Howard said.

Jonathan French was pronounced dead at the scene. Lisa French, a seven year veteran of the Glendale department, was airlifted to University of Louisville Hospital.

Wednesday afternoon Jonathan French's body made the 50 mile journey from Glendale to Louisville in an ambulance driven by Howard. A convoy of comrades joined together in Jonathan French's honor.

"The fire departments were on the overpasses, they had the American flags flying," Howard recalled.

Once in Louisville the heartache continued as they made their way to the morgue. Fire and police departments from surrounding areas also gathered in a show of solidarity.

"These guys that were north, north of us, we really appreciate that and it means a lot to the family," he said.

The group surrounded the ambulance as a way to support those who found themselves in the midst of a nightmare. The grief was shared as they consoled each other and offered a final salute.

Lisa and Jonathan French came from a family of firefighters. Her brother is the chief of the Glendale Fire Department. He spent the Wednesday alongside his sister who is in stable condition at University Hospital.

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