“Our department is heartbroken”: Canton firefighter dies by suicide

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The Canton Fire Department announced over the weekend that Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Kneale passed away at the age of 42.

“It is with immense pain that we share with you the death of Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Kneale,” the Canton City Fire Department posted on Facebook.

Kneale passed away on Friday, May 17.

“Jared was hired on April 29, 2015, and initially assigned to the 1st battalion where he served for one year,” read the post from the City of Canton Fire Department. “He was transferred to the 2nd battalion where he remained until his passing. Jared was assigned to Ladder Truck 1. He was a member of the TROT team and an integral part of the radio division. Jared spent many hours on his off days repairing radios and knox boxes. His most important role undoubtedly was head chef at station #1. He cooked nearly every meal, a task he took great pride in.”

The post described Kneale as having “infectious laughter” and being a “ringleader for pranks around the station.”

The post also revealed that Kneale died by suicide.

“It is with the permission of Jared’s wife and children that we wish to share that Jared’s death was the result of suicide due to a post-traumatic stress-related illness,” the post read. “Jared’s family and our members are struggling to make sense of his decision to take his own life, but we have collectively agreed his passing cannot be for nothing.”

The fire department emphasized their commitment to making something positive out of Kneale’s tragic death.

“In his final moments, Jared signaled to us his wishes to use his death to help bring awareness to firefighter mental health,” the post said. “We urge our fellow brothers and sisters to reach out to one another.”

Upon receiving news of Kneale’s death, more than 70 firefighters gathered at the hospital to say their final goodbyes. The fire department expressed their heartbreak but also their resilience and solidarity during this difficult time.

“Our department is heartbroken but resilient. Our members are rallying around each other and exemplifying the true meaning of ‘brotherhood,'” the post continued. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received during this trying time.”

Kneale leaves behind his wife, six children, and 151 united brothers and sisters in the fire department. The family has requested privacy as they grieve, with arrangements to be announced once finalized.

“We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers,” the post concluded.