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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Black firefighter dies after saving three drowning girls

His 10-year-old daughter was one of the last people to see him before he died.

At around 9 p.m. on Friday night, off-duty firefighter Sivad Johnson helped rescue three girls who were drowning in a river near Michigan’s Belle Isle.

When Johnson noticed the disturbance, he spun into action, giving his phone and keys to his daughter, Hayden, 10, so that he could provided assistance.

Although the girls were returned safely back to their homes, Johnson was not as fortunate.

READ MORE: The US Navy names a carrier after a decorated Black war hero

When Hayden noticed the girls were safely brought back to shore, she called 911 after she was unable to find her father, The New York Times reported

A search team was called in that night, but was called off by 4 a.m. to be reinstated the following day.

Detroit’s fire and police departments recovered Johnson’s body from the river on Saturday afternoon near the Detroit Yacht Club, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly afterward, Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said.

According to WDIV, an NBC Detroit news affiliate, Johnson might have gotten weighed down and buried underwater by a rip current.

The 48-year-old Detroit native served as a firefighter for more than 26 years. He had a long history with the fire department as a second-generation firefighter, following his father and brother’s footsteps, NBC News reported.

READ MORE: Meet the Black man who could have saved the US Postal Service

In a speech from 2018, Johnson said that being a firefighter is like being surrounded with family.

“My brother was a firefighter for 11 years, and we are both second-generation because our father served for 20,” Johnson said.

“That is actually a very proud thing for me to say,” he continued. “I’ve met a lot of great men and women on the job, and through some of the things we’ve been through and shared, we’ve grown close like a family.”

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