DeJong and Lebet, Inc.

Serving the marine industry since 1968.

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Eugene Johnson

"Eighteen shoppers browsed in the aisles of the A&P Supermarket at San Juan and Hershel streets on a July afternoon in 1970.    They left their buggies and scurried for the door when a stock boy ran from the back of the store shouting fire. It was Lt. Gene Johnson's first day at Station 14; he was a roving officer who filled in for vacationing, sick or injured officers at which ever station he was needed. The fire was in an open space between the ceiling and the roof of the store. "The roof caved in before we could really attack it," said one fireman. Lt. Johnson and a team of firefighters were at the rear of the store. The collapsed roof at the front of the store "produced a great quantity of flame and black smoke which completely filled the closed-in area at the rear... "It was so dark that we had to shine our flashlights on the fire hose to find our way back to the door."  Lt. Johnson never made it out. The fireboat Eugene Johnson is named for the fallen firefighter."

 

Taken from Men of Valor: The History of Firefighting in Jacksonville, Florida, 1886-1986, by John W. Cowart.

The EUGENE JOHNSON is finally being retired by the Jacksonville Fire Department. She came up for sale in 2009, perhaps someone will purchase her for private use? These photos were taken in February of 2009.

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"It's fought some pretty big fires. The only reason we actually extinguished the Stuart Fire was that this boat pumped 6,000 gallons a minute for five days nonstop," said JFRD Chief Larry Paterson.

The Stuart Fire, in 1993, was a 1 million-gallon oil tank that burned for five days straight.

 

       This page last edited on  07/09/2010