May 26–An estimated 1,000-plus people turned out Monday night to honor Claremore Fire Department Captain Jason Farley, who died Saturday while attempting to rescue residents of a west Claremore neighborhood from rising flood waters.
Crowds, including several hundred emergency response personnel from throughout the area, lined the route Farley's family followed Monday on the final leg of their return home from a trip abroad. Supporters gathered as Farley's wife, parents and 15-year-old daughter made their way from the Tulsa airport back to their Rogers County home. They had been on a family vacation in Ireland.
Claremore Fire Chief Sean Douglas thanked the public for their support.
“Thank you to the members of the community, the fire departments, law enforcement agencies, EMS agencies and others that turned out to show support for Captain Jason Farley's family as they returned home for the first time since his passing,” Douglas said. “It is hard to express how much this means to the Claremore Fire Department and our families. I'm sure Captain Farley's family is equally grateful for those that braved long distances, the weather or late hour of their return.
“Countless others were unable to attend, but we know they are keeping the Farley family in their thoughts and prayers.”
During flood rescue efforts in the Archer Court area around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Farley, 44 — a nearly 20-year veteran of the CFD — was pulled into a storm drain and became trapped, according to Douglas.
Douglas said a fellow firefighter, Zane James, rushed to Farley's assistance but also was pulled into the storm drain. He emerged at the other end and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Monday evening, James was released from the hospital, Douglas said — but had to be readmitted on Tuesday, May 26.
“He is still in stable condition and will be closely watched for any complications due to his horrific experience,” Douglas said in a press release issued Tuesday. “Please keep Lieutenant James and his family in your thoughts and prayers as well.”
Douglas on Tuesday announced further details about the rescue attempt and events that led up to Farley's death. There were seven members of the CFD on the scene at Archer Court Saturday night, he said, when, “Captain Farley slipped or fell into the area around a storm drain. All personnel on scene rushed to aid him. A firefighter grabbed hold of Captain Farley and was being supported by at least one other firefighter.
“Lieutenant James went to assist the other firefighters in attempting to pull Captain Farley out. Captain Farley and Lieutenant James were pulled into the storm drain …
“Lieutenant James was pushed through the storm drain pipe by the water. He held his breath as long as he could before inhaling water. He was ejected from the pipe into a fence, where he was able to crawl back to the street. A firefighter assisted Lieutenant James,” while others searched the area for any sign of Farley.
Additional CFD personnel, along with Claremore police officers, were assigned to search areas further downstream, Douglas said. The Verdigris Fire District, Northwest Rogers County Fire District, Pafford EMS, the Rogers County Sheriff's Office and several other agencies — including the Claremore Street Department — assisted with the search.
“Captain Farley had become caught in the storm pipe and drowned,” Douglas said. “It took approximately two hours to retrieve his body due to the storm water and required the use of heavy equipment from the Claremore Street Department. Verdigris Fire District was asked to retrieve Captain Farley due to the personal nature of the event.
“The Claremore Fire Department is deeply indebted to the Verdigris Fire District for their assistance in such an important and delicate matter.”
Douglas said a Fire Department Funeral will be conducted for Farley on May 30 in Claremore — details will be released as they are finalized.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up for the Jason Farley Memorial Fund, at http://de.gofund.me./vdh2x8 .
Claremore Firefighters IAFF Local 1077 will also establish a memorial fund, and donations are being accepted at Fire Station #1, Douglas said. Checks can be made payable to “Jason Farley Memorial Fund.” Contact Lieutenant Mike Peters at email@example.com or 918-724-0744 with questions regarding donations.
“We mourn Captain Farley's death and celebrate the life he lived. We are blessed by Lieutenant James' miraculous survival. Thank you again for the outpouring of support to our department and our families. Thank you for honoring Captain Farley and his family,” Douglas said.
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