LAKE CITY, Fla. - Family, friends and the Lake City community their final goodbyes to a police officer killed in a house fire last week.
The funeral service for Brandi Jackson was held Tuesday morning at Christ Central Ministries.
During the service, the chief of police called Jackson a great role model who was pursuing her dream in law enforcement while continuing her education and raising two young girls.
Jackson, a 24-year-old mother of two, grew up in Lake City.
She died in the fire that destroyed a Columbia County home early Thursday morning. Investigators released a statement saying there was nothing suspicious in the nature of the fire.
"Brandi was very happy, always," said Janet Goldberg, Jackson's friend. "The kids loved her, always wanting to be with her and always talking about her during the day."
Jackson's life was highlighted through pictures of her growing up as a cute kid with blonde hair who adored her family.
"This was one of the kind, gentle services that you would have for a beautiful young lady that had her time cut short," Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said.
Following the service, officers carried out her casket, covered in an American flag. They folded the flag and placed the casket in the back of the hearse.
Then officers from agencies across the state, including Levy, St. Johns, Alachua, Baker, Columbia counties, Lake City, Oviedo, even lifeguards and the Department of Agriculture assisted in escorting Jackson to her final resting place.
"We are in a fraternity, we all are, and when something like this happens, a tragic thing like this happens, we all respond just to honor her in every regard, and I think that's really what happened today," Dobson said.
Friends describe Jackson as an exceptional woman with a bright future who was proud to be able to serve her community.
"Life is short, very, very short, and you never, ever know what's going to happen," Goldberg said.
"I think at the end of the day we would all be proud, any law enforcement agency," Dobson said. "I know I would, at the Baker County Sheriff's Office, be proud to have someone like her. Brandi, seemed to be a true professional in every way."
Since her death, the staff at the Police Department is still going to work, but at the same time is helping Jackson's family. The kids have been with Jackson's family, and many members of the department are also stepping in to help.
The department is also trying to help Investigator David Greear, who owned the house that caught fire.
Investigators say Greear and Jackson were sleeping in separate parts of the house, and he tried to extinguish the fire, and when that failed, he went to the back of the house where Jackson was sleeping.
Greear said they were both attempting to make it through the house filled with smoke. Greear made it out, went to a neighbor's home to get help. Jackson, being unfamiliar with the home, became disoriented and didn't make it out.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the state fire marshal, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state attorney's office are all still investigating.
"At this time, this appears to be nothing more than a tragic accident," the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
A memorial fund has been set up at First Federal Bank in honor of Jackson. If you would like to contribute to the fund, you may do so at any First Federal Savings and Loan bank. The memorial fund is "Brandi Jackson Memorial Fund."
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