Detroit Firefighter Drowns Saving 3 Young Girls Struggling to Swim in Lake

Detroit Fire Sgt. Sivad Johnson had been with the fire department for 26 years.
Detroit Fire Sgt. Sivad Johnson had been with the fire department for 26 years. (Handout)

An off-duty firefighter’s body was recovered over the weekend after diving into the Detroit River to help three girls who had trouble swimming. Sgt. Sivad Johnson, who worked as a firefighter for 26 years, had been walking near the Detroit Yacht Club with his 10-year-old daughter when he noticed the girls struggling.

Johnson had apparently dived in after hearing three young girls screaming for help from the water, The Detroit News reported. Another person who also jumped into the lake and a nearby boat were able to rescue the three girls.

But Johnson’s daughter soon realized her father wasn’t among those that had emerged from the water and called 911. After a lengthy search that included the efforts of divers, Johnson’s body was recovered.

"It is believed the father may have been dragged underwater by the rip-current and no one noticed," Michigan State Police said in a statement.

Despite having been off-duty at the time of his death, Johnson’s heroism will be labeled as a line-of-duty death, Detroit Fire Department deputy commissioner Dave Fornell told The Detroit News.

“He's done that his entire career," Fornell said. "It's unfortunate to have lost one of our own that way."

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