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Flags lowered to half-staff across Michigan to honor Detroit Fire Sergeant Sivad Johnson

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Posted at 3:23 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 15:23:10-04
(WXYZ) —

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff on Aug. 29 to honor the life and service of Detroit Fire Department Sergeant Sivad Johnson.

Detroit firefighter who died while saving 3 girls remembered as family man, master storyteller

Johnson passed away trying to save three young girls from drowning in the Detroit River at Belle Isle.

“Sergeant Sivad Johnson’s passing is a devastating loss for the Detroit Fire Department, the City of Detroit, and the entire state of Michigan,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Sgt. Sivad Johnson was an idol to everyone who had the pleasure to meet him and a hero in every aspect of this life. My thoughts and condolences are with his family as they lay him to rest.”

Johnson was with his 10-year-old daughter at the park when he heard witnesses say three young girls were drowning in the water. Johnson gave his phone and keys to his daughter, and he and a civilian jumped into the river to save the girls, according to Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones.

After the girls were safely brought to shore, Sgt. Johnson’s daughter realized she could not find her father and called 911 around 9 p.m., according to the Michigan State Police.

After more than 12 hours of searching, crews recovered the 49-year-old father of two's body from the river on Saturday.

The memorial service will be held on Monday, Aug. 31 at noon in front of Detroit Public Safety Headquarters on Third Avenue.