Hundreds gather to honor Glendale firefighter killed in line of duty


by Brooke Hasch and Karma Dickerson

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 11 at 6:17 PM

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WHAS11) – Hundreds of firefighters from across the state of Kentucky laid to rest one of their own Monday afternoon.

Glendale Volunteer Firefighter Jonathan French, 25, died Wednesday, Aug. 6 while battling a car fire on I-65, near Elizabethtown. It was around 3:30 a.m. when he was struck and killed by a semi tractor trailer in the southbound lane.

"When it happens, it hits us all," Lt. Barry Craig, with the Vine Grove Fire Department said.

Craig was one of more than 700 firefighters who attended French's funeral at the First Christian Church, off North Miles Street, in Elizabethtown. There, they brought support and strength to the French family, many of whom have served on the same fire volunteer fire department for generations.

"It happens. That's the worst part about it. It happens, luckily, not very often," Craig said.

French's death marked the first for a firefighter killed on the job in Hardin County since 1970.

"We've dealt with firefighter death before. I've been to funerals, out of respect because it's a brotherhood, but not this close to home," Lt. Jeremy Goodman, with the Elizabethtown Fire Department said. "He was top notch."

A procession of dozens of fire trucks, ambulances, and members of the Patriot Guard and Supporting Heroes organization lined the streets of Elizabethtown, and headed into Glendale before arriving at French's final resting spot.

French's mother, Lisa French, was also struck during the accident. She was transported to University Hospital but has since been recovering at home.

The driver in Wednesday's crash has not been charged.