Firefighter remembered in North Port

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 2:21 pm

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- A North Port firefighter will be put to rest Tuesday. But Monday, Lt. Jeff Newland was remembered with a procession through the city. His sudden passing is being considered a line of duty death.

Fellow firefighters and paramedics from all over the Suncoast descended on North Port to remember Lt. Newland. "We wanted to pay our respects to the family by having a motorcade through the community visiting the fire stations he served," said Chief Bill Taaffe of North Port Fire & EMS.

At 50 years old, the 14-year veteran of the North Port Fire Department died suddenly on April 23rd of an aortic aneurysm.

Chief Taaffe says it happened after his last call. "It is being considered a line of duty death. He died of a heart condition shortly after leaving shift; after his last emergency run just a few hours before."

The procession was a mile long; a touching tribute for the man who also put 20 years into the military.

He leaves behind significant other Beverly Ward, six-year old son Clayton, and17-year-old stepson Colton. “Jeff was the guy that always wanted everyone to do better. No matter if you were picking up the trash or if you were the lieutenant. His goal in life was for everybody to just do their best," said Ward.

With his ashes and gear buckled into the front seat, the truck moved through town. Residents, city workers, and fellow firefighters paid their respects.

Lt. Jeff Newland
Lt. Jeff Newland

"The thing about a fire department is it's a family. We spend exactly one third of our entire life living and working together. It's a little different than other jobs," says Chief Taaffe.

"The public support has been very comforting to our family," said Ward.

And for 6-year-old Clayton, one last ride with dad in the rig he rode to help so many others.

“His son asked to ride on the fire truck with his dad's ashes. That is very traditional," said Taaffe.

"Teary eyed. It was sweet to watch. It makes it easier with him to have people he knew and people daddy worked with embrace him and make him feel special even though daddy isn't here," said Ward.

Lt. Newland is considered the 37th firefighter nationally so far this year to pass away from something which may have been related to their service.

A formal memorial service will be held for Newland Tuesday at 1pm in Fort Myers.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Right Now

weather

Today

weather
92°
Details

Tomorrow

weather
93°
Details

Today

weather
92°
Details

Today

weather
89°
Details

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.