JFRD releases statement on death of 20-year-old firefighter killed in ATV accident

Captain Eric Proswimmer of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) confirmed the passing of 20-year-old firefighter Tanner Gillespie in an off-duty ATV accident over the weekend.


Below is the fully released statement:

“The JFRD family is mourning the loss of one of our own. This past weekend Firefighter Tanner Gillespie was tragically killed in an off-duty accident. Tanner recently became a JFRD firefighter and had a bright future ahead of him. In his shorth time on the department, Tanner quickly developed a reputation as a good firefighter and co-worker. Tanner was following in the footsteps of his father, retired JFRD Lieutenant Gene Gillespie and was assigned to Engine 30 in the Regency area of town. Please keep Tanner’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this trying time.”

The incident occurred late Saturday night, November 18, when a pickup truck and an ATV collided off Putnam County Road 309.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the two passengers of the ATV, including Gillespie, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident occurred when an ATV, carrying a 21-year-old driver and Gillespie as the 20-year-old passenger, approached the intersection at Browns Fish Camp at 11 p.m. A pickup truck, traveling in the same direction, failed to complete a right turn. The pickup slowed down, but the ATV could not come to a stop in time, resulting in a collision.

The impact caused the ATV’s passengers to be reportedly thrown out of the vehicle, and both were pronounced dead at the scene. The pickup truck, carrying seven passengers in their early 20s, did not report any injuries.

Gillespie, a member of Recruit Class 2-23, joined on July 17, 2023. Assigned to Engine Company 30 in the Regency area of town, he earned praise as a dedicated firefighter and co-worker. Gillespie followed in the footsteps of his father, retired JFRD Lieutenant Gene Gillespie.

The Jacksonville Firefighters Death Benefits Fund (JFDBF) was the first to report Gillespie’s death through an online statement, urging the community to keep Gillespie’s family and friends in their thoughts and prayers during this challenging time.

As the community mourns the loss of a promising young firefighter, investigations into the circumstances of the accident are ongoing.

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