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Sterling Heights Fire Department Lt. Lorne Farrell dies in Florida

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Posted at 12:52 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 13:05:19-05

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Sterling Heights Fire Department said one of its lieutenants, Lt. Lorne Farrell, died unexpectedly in Florida over the weekend.

Farrell collapsed while playing pickleball with his two adult children on Sunday. Efforts from bystanders and first responders to revive him were not successful.

"Lorne was an exceptional firefighter who could always be counted on in times of need; not just for the public he served with extreme dedication, but to his fellow firefighters whom he was very close," the city said.

Farrell joined the department in 2003 and had previously spent 8 years with the Hazel Park Fire Department and 5 years with the Washington Township Fire Department.

He was promoted to fire engine operator in 2014 and promoted to sergeant in 2015 before his promotion to lieutenant last year.

At the time of his death, he was assigned to fire station 1 on battalion 2. His personnel file is filled with countless thank you letters from those he served.

Those include:

  • Exemplary Service Letter – January 31, 2006 – for his life saving actions at a medical emergency
  • Meritorious Unit Citation – November 17, 2012 for his actions in saving elderly residents on a mutual aid fire in Shelby Township
  • Meritorious Unit Citation – May 17, 2017 for his actions at a fatal fire at Sterling Knolls Apartments
  • Meritorious Unit Citation – June 21, 2017 for his actions at tragic multivehicle accident on Utica Road
  • Meritorious Unit Citation – July 18, 2017 for his actions at the large fire at Buff Whelan Chevrolet

During a fire on Christmas in 2018, he sustained a significant leg fracture and was pinned. He laid on the ground and ordered every firefighter who tried to help him to ignore him and get to work saving the lives of dozens of people who were trapped in the building. He wasn't treated until enough firefighters were on the scene.

Lorne is survived by two children and his mother. He lived in Chesterfield Township and was an avid hunter, fisher and loved snowmobiling.