Pasadena Fire Department Honors One Its Own at Saturday Memorial for Former Firefighter Andre Jones

Pasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre JonesPasadena Fire Dept. Honors Retired Firefighter Andre Jones

Photography by JAMIE NICHOLSON

6:47 am | December 4, 2017


The Pasadena Fire Department community gathered as one on Saturday, December 2, to honor the life of Andre “Dre” Jones, a former longtime Pasadena firefighter who died of a job-related cancer last month. He was 58.

Pasadena Fire Department officials said Jones succumbed on November 13, peacefully at his home following a two-year battle with the disease.

A “Celebration of Life” with traditional firefighter honors was held at 10 a.m. at the Lake Avenue Church at 393 N. Lake Avenue.

Pasadena Fire Dept spokesperson Lisa Derderian said the well-orchestrated ceremony filled with traditional Fire Service honors was a showing of respect for the late firefighter’s 28 years of service to the City, the longest period of which he served at Station 37.

Pasadena Firefighter Andre Jones“We had several hundred people in attendance. Great support from our police department to assist getting the family to the last station that Firefighter Jones worked, which is Station 37 over on the eastern end, back over to Lake Avenue Church,” said Derderian.

A touching moment in the memorial was when Andre’s family was escorted to the church and passed through the “tunnel” of some 100 firefighters who lined-up in ranks and saluted. Adding to service was the playing of the bagpipes by Pasadena Firefighter Todd Witt, said Derderian.

During the memorial, Reverend Barbara Haynes, a close friend of the Jones family, gave a eulogy about Andre. During the eulogy, Andre’s daughters Ashlee, Olivia and Jillian Louise also shared personal stories about their father.

A touching portion of the memorial was when a retired firefighter read a poem, which was followed by the playing of a memorial video and the traditional ringing of the bell for the firefighter who passed away in line of duty by an honor guard from the Pasadena Fire Department.

“They ring it five times, it’s traditional both at police and fire memorial ceremonies. Like the final bell, the final call for their service,” said Derderian.

Derderian said the Verdugo Dispatch then put out the last alarm, or a last one minute call for Andre, which was broadcast over the radio for all Verdugo users to hear.

Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington then presented the folded U.S. flag to Andre’s widow, Renette, in line with a time-honored tradition of the fire service, said Derderian.

Andre and Renette were married for 35 years.

Derderian said the memorial for Andre was well attended by Pasadena firefighters. Firefighters from the neighboring fire departments pitched-in while the memorial was being conducted.

“Other fire departments came in and supported Pasadena so we were fully staffed the entire time. Glendale, San Marino, South Pasadena and Burbank helped us staff our stations so that all of our personnel could attend the services,” said Derderian.

According to Derderian, those who attended the memorial were not only those on duty. Those who came to pay their respects also included many retired and off-duty firefighters.

“The greatest tribute we can provide is to honor our own for dedicating 30-years to our community. I join the men and women of our department in mourning Firefighter Jones’ passing,” Pasadena Fire Chief Washington said in a statement. “His infectious smile and warm personality will be sorely missed.”

Andre grew up in Los Angeles and attended Marshall High School, Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly where he was a football standout and always the epitome of health.

He began his career as a Pasadena Fire Department Auxiliary Firefighter in August 1986. After learning the basics of firefighting, he tested for Firefighter in 1987 and was successfully hired as a Probationary Firefighter. After passing probation he was promoted to Firefighter II and remained on the front line until his retirement in April 2014. During his career he was an outstanding Firefighter and Fire Inspector.

Andre joined the Pasadena Fire Department as an auxiliary firefighter in 1986 and became a full-fledged firefighter in 1987.

“Typically if the retiree is five years retired and [passes away from] cancer, then it’s assumed that it happened because of what they’re exposed to, day in and day out, for many, many years, the toxins and the chemicals” Derderian said. “He was diagnosed a month after he retired.”