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Sterling Heights fire lieutenant suddenly collapses, dies in Florida

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 6, 2020

 Sterling Heights officials are remembering Fire Lt. Lorne Farrell, who died in March.

Sterling Heights officials are remembering Fire Lt. Lorne Farrell, who died in March.

Photo provided by Sterling Heights

STERLING HEIGHTS — Local firefighters are remembering the life of Fire Lt. Lorne Farrell after his sudden passing this month.

According to the Sterling Heights Fire Department, Farrell, 49, from Chesterfield Township, collapsed while playing pickleball with family in Florida March 1. According to the Fire Department, Farrell’s 22-year-old daughter, 20-year-old son and mother were there at the time. People at the scene and first responders tried to treat him but were unable to help him recover, officials said.

The Fire Department said Farrell had worked five years for the Washington Township Fire Department and had worked for eight years in Hazel Park prior to his 2003 hiring in Sterling Heights as a firefighter/paramedic.

According to Sterling Heights officials, he earned multiple recognition awards and was promoted through the ranks until he reached the position of lieutenant in 2019, serving at Fire Station No. 1’s Battalion 2.

The Fire Department lauded Farrell for his demeanor when a fire hose coupling fractured his leg during an apartment fire Dec. 25, 2018. Farrell ordered the firefighters on the scene to save trapped people in the building instead of helping him, despite his pain, Fire Chief Chris Martin explained.

“He was laying there about 10 minutes before anyone could come to his aid,” Martin said. “It didn’t bug him one bit because he knew there were people to be rescued.”

The Fire Department remembered Farrell as someone who loved snowmobiling, hunting and fishing.

“He is just a very family-oriented person who lived to do things outdoors and do things with the ones he loved,” Martin said. “He was a great guy to have around, especially in a time of need. He is going to be missed by his department and his family.”

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor also offered his condolences to Farrell’s family and friends.

“I want to thank him for his years of service to the Fire Department,” he said. “He was well loved. He was a great dad and a friend to everyone who came in contact with him.

“We know that these men and women do a dangerous job that puts a lot of stress on them, both physically and mentally. … It’s an incredible sacrifice.”