Detroit Firefighter Sivad Johnson holds plaque given to him in 2016 for saving the life of an unconscious man. (Detroit Public
A police dive team searched the Detroit River Saturday for a hero firefighter reported missing after helping to save three girls from drowning, according to reports.
Detroit Fire Department Sgt. Sivad Johnson, 48, was off-duty Friday night and with his 10-year-old daughter when he heard the girls screaming for help and dove into the water near the Detroit Yacht Club, The Detroit News reported.
“He’s a firefighter, he saw the girls in distress and jumped in. He’s done that his entire career,” Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told the paper. “Something happened and it’s unfortunate to have lost one of our own that way.”
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It was Johnson’s daughter who called Michigan State Police dispatch around 9 p.m. Friday to report losing her father, the paper reported.
The rescue of the girls involved a civilian and someone with a boat.
“From the civilian, we talked to last night, there were a lot of rip currents and the sergeant went out into the water,” Fornell said, according to The News. “One girl was rescued by the civilian and the boat picked up the two other girls.”
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Johnson joined the fire department 26 years ago, following in his father’s footsteps.
In 2016 the Detroit Public Safety Foundation recognized Johnson for saving the life of an unconscious man during a fire.
A year later, he was honored for his bravery with a departmental medal of valor award.
Johnson’s story about being a Detroit firefighter was recorded in 2018 by The Moth, a nonprofit dedicated to the art of storytelling.
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“It’s never easy and it never feels right to lose a human life when you’ve been called on to rescue them but it comes with the job,” he said in a recording of his story.