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Memorial service for Lt. Jeff Little, the Waycross firefighter killed in the line of duty

7:15 PM, Dec 18, 2013   |    comments
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WAYCROSS, Ga. - A memorial service for a Waycross firefighter who died in the line of duty took place Wednesday. Hundreds of people, including firefighters, attended the somber event.

Lieutenant David Jeff Little, 50, died while battling a fire in a vacant home in the 1000 block of Isabella St. Sunday morning; a fire police believe was started by two men who are now charged with Little's death.

Sirens, flags at half mast, and hundreds of law enforcement and emergency officials lined up to honor the life of Little.

"We're through here with the service, we're going to take brother home, mom and dad are waiting on him, and we're going to let him go to rest," said Andrew Little, Little's brother.

Little's brothers say they will be taking their brother back home to Alabama for his final funeral. They say 30 different fire departments that provided equipment for the memorial service. 

Keith Mobley from the Lake City Fire Department heard about Little's death and said he wanted to show his respect.  

"Losing a firefighter in this kind of situation, it kind of pulls us all together so we come out to support the department and the community because we're just a brotherhood," said Mobley.

Lieutenant Jonathan Lamm came up with his department from Clay County Fire and Rescue and says this situation has reminded him of what his family could go through due to the risks of the job.

"My wife when we saw it on the news and got first notification of it, we have two children and it affected them, I mean it affected my wife and my kids both because trying to explain to them, it's okay Daddy will be fine, this was an accident that was unfortunately something that we didn't want to see but we're going to go up and let their family and their fire department know that we love them and the best thing we can do for them now is pray for them," said Lt. Lamm.


In the hours before the service, local firefighters cleaned out Little's locker and tried to stay occupied at the station.

"No one expected anything like this to happen when the unit responded to that fire on Sunday," Eddins added. "Unfortunately this was a freak accident nobody saw it coming. I've heard some of the fireman here that have worked with him. I've been here 6 years and the others that have been with him the whole time made comments that Jeff had a knack, he had a sense for when something wasn't right and that day they said he didn't feel nothing was wrong in there."

Authorities said Little's fatal injuries were the result of the veteran firefighter becoming trapped inside the house.

He leaves behind a large family, including his wife, a son, brothers and his parents.

Little's brothers reacted to the news authorities had arrested two people for allegedly setting the fire that killed their brother while outside a viewing for Little on Tuesday night.

"No, it's not going to bring our brother back. It starts to bring closure right now. I guess after everything is said and done, we can have some closure then. But it starts the process," said Andrew Little.

Andrew added his family is sad over circumstances of his brother's life, but happy the case is now in the hands of the justice system.

Ronnie Cranford, 23, and Zachery Thompson, 17, have been charged with arson and murder in relation to Little's death.

Details of the investigation into Little's death and the fire have not been released publicly, but Waycross Police said the arrests were made after investigating tips received from the community.

Little's memorial service was held at 2 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church at 201 Ava Street.

First Coast News

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