Pasadena Fire Chief Calvin Wells and Chief Mike Maas attended a local service Wednesday as Deputy Chief Kevin Costa returned from a Prescott, Arizona memorial which paid tribute to 19 members of an elite firefighting “hotshot” crew killed June 30 fighting a massive blaze in Maricopa County.
“It was an honor to represent the men and women of the Pasadena Fire Department at the Celebration of Life for the 19 fallen hotshots,” Deputy Chief Costa said after his return. “It was the single largest loss of firefighters lives since 9-11, and I was privileged to sit with several FDNY firefighters who made their way to Arizona.”
The deaths of the 19 was the worst U.S. wildland firefighting tragedy in 80 years. The men apparently were outflanked by wind-whipped flames in seconds, and had no chance to scramble into protective personal shelters.
“It reaffirmed my beliefs that it takes a special person to choose a career in Public Safety, to risk one life for the life and property of others, and these 19 firefighters demonstrated their call to duty, commitment and professionalism that makes every firefighter ‘special’,” Deputy Chief Costa said.
The Tuesday memorial service in Prescott gathered thousands to pay tribute to the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew which perished.
According to the La CaÃ±ada Valley Sun, firefighters from both county stations in La CaÃ±ada Flintridge attended the services to support the families of the fallen firefighters in Arizona.
â€œWeâ€™re a giant firefighting family,â€ Los Angeles County battalion chief for La CaÃ±ada Station 82 Mike Savage told the newspaper. â€œWhether weâ€™re in the same area or another part of the county.â€