The Sterling Heights Fire Department is deeply saddened to report the tragic loss of Lieutenant Lorne Farrell. Lorne was in Florida with his family on the afternoon of Sunday March 1, when he collapsed while playing pickleball with his two adult children.
Extensive efforts from bystanders and first responders to revive him were not successful.
Lorne was an exceptional firefighter who could always be counted on in times of need; not just for the public he served with extreme dedication, but to his fellow firefighters whom he was very close. Lorne began his career with the Sterling Heights Fire Department as a Firefighter/Paramedic on January 21, 2003. Prior to becoming a member of the Sterling Heights Fire Department, he spent the previous eight years with the Hazel Park Fire Department and the 5 years prior to that with the Washington Township Fire Department.
Lorne’s service to the residents of Sterling Heights has resulted in several career milestones;
- Promoted to Fire Engine Operator on September 5, 2014
- Promoted to Sergeant on June 19, 2015
- Promoted to Lieutenant on January 4, 2019
- At the time of his death, he was assigned to Fire Station 1 on Battalion 2
In addition, his personnel file is filled with countless thank you letters from those he served as well as many recognition awards from the department for the endless amount of times he performed above and beyond. Some of his awards include;
- Exemplary Service Letter – January 31, 2006 – for his life saving actions at a medical emergency
- Meritorious Unit Citation – November 17, 2012 for his actions in saving elderly residents on a mutual aid fire in Shelby Township
- Meritorious Unit Citation – May 17, 2017 for his actions at a fatal fire at Sterling Knolls Apartments
- Meritorious Unit Citation – June 21, 2017 for his actions at tragic multivehicle accident on Utica Road
- Meritorious Unit Citation – July 18, 2017 for his actions at the large fire at Buff Whelan Chevrolet
Lorne sustained a significant leg fracture at the large fire on Christmas Day, 2018. In the first few chaotic moments of that fire, Lorne was stuck by a coupling from a piece of large diameter fire hose. As a testament to his dedication and his desire to put others first, Lorne laid on the ground in extreme pain and ordered every Firefighter that attempted to help him to ignore him and get to work saving lives of the dozens of people who were still trapped in the building. He was not treated until enough Firefighters were on the scene to be able to do so and not hamper the rescue efforts.
Lorne had two children, a daughter 22 and a son 20, who were with him in his last moments, as was his mother. Lorne resided in Chesterfield Township and enjoyed the outdoors in his off time. He was an avid hunter, loved fishing and enjoyed snowmobiling with his friends. Any time he could spend with his children was at the top of his list of things to do.
Lorne will leave behind a void in his family and in the Fire Department that will not be able to be filled. Fire Department representatives are working with his family to determine funeral services, which will be shared when they are finalized.