Marion County fire chief makes heartfelt plea after department loses 2 members to suicide in just weeks

Tripp Wooten, Allen Singleton mourned

Honoring the lives of Marion County firefighters who died by suicide

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A Central Florida community came together Saturday to honor a fallen member of Marion County Fire Rescue.

The department has lost two members to suicide this year, according to the fire chief.

Funeral services for paramedic Allen Singleton were Saturday morning in Ocala, according to News4JAX.

Singleton served the department for six years before his death last week. He left behind a wife and two children.

[TRENDING: Orlando performance venue faces losing liquor license after Christmas drag show | ‘Traffic pattern in the sky:’ SpaceX satellite train fascinates Floridians, here’s how to see it | Become a News 6 Insider]

Last month, the department lost firefighter Tripp Wooten. He was a 14-year veteran of the department.

Chief James Banta wrote in an online tribute that Wooten “never met a stranger and possessed a sense of humor that brightened the days of all who came in contact with him.”

Wooten also left behind a wife and two children.

Wooten and Singleton’s deaths have raised concerns about the mental health strains first responders continuously face, from long hours and PTSD to substance abuse and addiction.


In a video message, Banta issued an emotional plea to the department and the community as they work through these losses.

“I need each of you to be my eyes and ears. I shoulder the burden of leading us out of this crisis, but I cannot do it alone,” Banta said. “Please ask the tough questions. We owe it to each other, as coworkers, as friends and as family.”

Mental health strike teams from the International Association of Firefighters will be available for Marion County firefighters and support staff, starting next week.

If you or someone you know is struggling and need someone to talk with, you can call or text 988.

More important numbers

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily: