Local firefighters show support for 25-year-old killed in line of duty


by Michaela MacDonald


Posted on August 7, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 7 at 6:24 PM

GLENDALE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Area firefighters are honoring the Glendale volunteer firefighter killed in the line of duty Wednesday.

Jonathan French was struck and killed by a semi on I-65 early Wednesday morning. His mother, another volunteer firefighter, was also seriously injured, but is currently listed in stable condition.

French's body was brought to Louisville for an autopsy Wednesday. On Thursday, fire departments from Louisville to Hardin County lined the route as he was brought to a funeral home in Elizabethtown.

"At every overpass there was a fire department there. Sometimes two fire departments there," Rineyville Chief Shane Crutcher said. Crutcher is also Vice President of the Hardin Co. Fire Chiefs Association.

"It's hard to explain, you hope you never have to experience it, it's kind of just an unwritten rule that we're going to do whatever we can to take care of each other no matter what happens," Crutcher said.

Crutcher says he hopes he'll never see another procession like this one, but the show of support has been amazing.

"It's a fraternal support network. You know you don't engage with these folks until typically, something bad like this happens. And it's not just within the county; it's outside of our county, across the commonwealth and across the nation. There's been phone calls of support and condolences coming in from all over to offer whatever services and assistance they can," he said.

Crutcher says many Hardin county firefighters, like Jonathan, serve on a volunteer basis. They do it for their love of the community.

"It's a passion. People do it because they truly love to do it. There is no pay and you're out risking your life and it's almost cliché until something very horrific like this happens, but it's the truth they are truly invoked in a life saving profession," Crutcher said.

Crutcher told us there has been a fund set up for the French family. It is at West Point bank locations, under the name Ladean Clark, who is a relative.