Friends remember ‘Sundance’ - FOX 13 News

Friends remember ‘Sundance’

Posted: Updated:
LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

If you chose to judge Joseph Fernandez by his rough looking exterior, you would have been dead wrong.

"Even though he might have had a rough appearance on the outside he was a really nice guy," said friend Todd Ives.

The man they called "Sundance" may have looked like the type of guy you didn't want to mess with, but in reality friends say he had a heart of gold.

"Sundance was an extraordinary person. Anyone who needed help he'd be there for them no matter what," said friend Ricky Mornes.

That was no more evident than last Sunday when, according to investigators, Sundance ran into a burning building in Elouise to save a man.

"I've heard so many say we knew it was Sundance, without knowing we knew it was Sundance that went in," said friend Jane Waters-Thomas.

Monday he died from injuries sustained in that attempted rescue.

The other unidentified man died in the fire.

Sunday there was a memorial service in his honor at Snively-Brooks Park, not far from the burned out apartment building that ultimately claimed his life.

Hundreds showed up to pay their respects, something Sundance feared would never happen.

"Sundance really was afraid or dying alone and being a nobody and this is a hero's send off. This isn't a small deal," said Waters-Thomas

The service included a moving eulogy, music and a balloon release for a man many consider a hero.

John Tarver was a longtime friend who tried to save Sundance after he was injured in the blaze.

"I thought I was going to get the job done," said Tarver.

A sling reminds him of that horrible day., but Sunday it was all about the good times with his good friend.

"He was liked and loved by everyone he knew," said Tarver.

Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices