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In Memoriam: Firefighters -- Fallen and Injured -- of 
Forest Service Engine 57, San Bernardino National Forest.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What follows are the names, a brief bio, and comments about and condolences for families and friends of the Forest Service firefighters who tragically lost their lives or were injured while in the line of duty on 10/26/06. The deceased are Mark Loutzenhiser (Lotzi), Jess McLean, Jason McKay, Daniel Hoover-Najera, and Pablo Cerda. 

These men were our friends, colleagues, and part of our firefighting brother/sister-hood. Each has touched our lives. We have worked with them on the fireline and in the office. We have trained with them and been trained by at least one of them. We have laughed, cried, lived intensely with them, clean and dirty, tired and rested, and tipped a brew in off hours. As you read what we share, you'll know this engine crew was one of the best of our best in training, experience and intelligence. They were our friends and part of our fire family. Their loss is our great tragedy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Brief "Bios" ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mark Loutzenhiser (Lotzi), Engine Captain, was 44 years old and had 21 years of service. He was a certified Emergency Management Technician (EMT). He had worked previously as a hotshot crewman for the Vista Grande Hot Shots and also as a volunteer firefighter for Riverside County. He majored in fire science at Mt. San Jacinto College. He was a longtime resident of Idyllwild, Calif. where he was a great supporter and coach for the youth sports program.

Jess McLean, Fire Engine Operator, was 27 years old and had seven years of service. He had been a hotshot for three years with Vista Grande. He graduated from Banning High School in 1997 and attended fire science classes at Crafton Hills College. He was a resident of Beaumont, Calif.

Jason McKay, Assistant Fire Engine Operator, was 27 years old and had five years of Forest Service experience and four years as a volunteer firefighter in Adelanto. He also served on the Mojave Greens Type II crew. He was a certified EMT and earned an associateís degree in Fire Science. He was a resident of Phelan, Calif.

Daniel Hoover-Najera, Firefighter, was 20 years old and was in his second season of firefighting. He worked on the Tahquitz Type II crew in 2005 and was a seasonal employee in 2006. He graduated from San Jacinto Mountain View High School in 2004. He was a resident of San Jacinto, Calif.

Pablo Cerda, was a 23-year-old Firefighter in his second season with the Forest Service. He was previously of the Tahquitz Type II crew. He graduated from Los Amigos High School in Santa Ana in 2001 and attended Fire Academy of Riverside Community College. He was a resident of Fountain Valley, Calif.

The five Forest Service employees were on Engine Crew 57 on the San Jacinto Ranger District (BDF). They were dispatched early Thursday morning to assist on a state managed wildfire, the Esperanza Incident. They were engaging in structure protection and firefighting activities when they where overrun by flames. The accident investigation is ongoing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Condolences / Loving Preparations / Services ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Theysaid 10/26/06 to present (to read in sequence, start at the bottom and read up) 

11/4 Ab,

I suspect that most of the fire communitiesí thoughts are with our fallen and their families this weekend. The memorial service set for tomorrow will be very emotional for both the people there and those of us far away. I believe the reason behind that being the sense of family that we all feel in the fire service. Sure we bicker and fight among ourselves, but as family we always set our feelings aside to help a brother or sister because that is what family does. I have always told my wife that I never worry if something happens to me because she will be in good hands. I believe that very strongly based on the past actions of my brothers and sisters in the fire service. As I set typing this I am reminded that life is terminal no matter how you look at it. The question we must always ask of ourselves in this high risk business is have we lived life to the fullest, loved, laughed and left it better than we found it?

I wanted to provide a little something I found several years ago that has made this and past fire service fatalities easier on myself. I believe it is the way things are run by the IC of all creation.

BLM FMO
 

The Last Command

(Author is Assistant Chief Kp, Boles Fire Protection District, Labadie, MO)

Once I Had a Dream While I Was Sleeping
That the Whole World Passed Away,
and the Chief of All Creation, Worked the Scene
That Judgment Day.

There Were People of Every Color,
There Were People of Every Size.
They Were Putting Them into Sectors,
According to the Way They Led Their Lives.
Assistant Chief Angels Had Their Sectors,
They Knew How to Handle Things.

Then I Noticed a Group of People.....
They Were Holding Them to the Side.
Rehabbing Sort of Loose and Easy,
While the Angels Worked Their Sectors Wide.
I.C. Judged and Tagged the Others,
by this Book of Rules He Held.
Then I Heard Him Tell an Angel....
"Now Bring on the Firefighters."
So They Geared up and Advanced Forward,
Some Surprised but Not Worried at All.
And Went up to Meet this Chief of Judgment Day....
Came this Rugged Seasoned Brigade.

Each One Pulled Their Helmets on Tighter,
That They Did from Habit.......
for itís a Trick of Most Firefighters to Do this
Before They Enter a World of Flame.
Some Were Young,
Some Were Older,
Some Walked with a Limping Stride.
Some Still Had on Their SCBA's ......
the Ones They Were Wearing When They Died.
They All Stood in Line to Answer,
for The Way They Had Spent Their Days.
And They Faced the I.C. of Heaven with a Calm and Level Gaze.
And the Chief of All Creation.....
Gave the Firefighters a Careful Look.
Then He Said to Operations Angel....
"Bring Me That Fireground Ops Book.

So I Turned and Asked Resource Angel.......
Why the Book of Judgment Had Been Turned 'Round?
And He Judged this Group of Firefighters....
by the Laws That Rule the Fireground?
And He Answered,
Very Solemn,
That the Reason Is Because,
You Can Never Judge a Firefighter...
by Some Civilian's Laws.

You See this Group of People,
They Have Fought the Devil Himself in His Own Den,
They Have Saved the Lives of Others,
Countless and Unknown,
Without a Thought That the Lives That Could Be Lost,
Very Well, Could Be Their Own.

They Have Fought to Quell the Flame and Chaos,
to Look Through the Smoke and Ruin,
Only to See That Devil Laugh, and Run Away.
Knowing He'll Be Back Again,
in a New Place and a Different Day.
But this Group Goes Back at Him,
with the Strength of a Hundred Men,
Knowing itís a Fight on Earth,
They Can Never Win.

Then I Looked Back at the Chief of Heaven,
Just in Time to Hear Him Say.........

"Pick Up.........." "We're Going In!!!"
11/3 Abs & All,

I wanted to express my support and sympathy to the friends and loved ones of the Crew of Engine 57. I didnít know any of them but it is obvious from the emails and news that these were good people, the kind the world needs more of today. The story of Pabloís honor parade choked me up. I wish I could have seen it.

I guess weíre already on a first name basis. Jason, Mark, Jess, Daniel and Pablo. These men have entered the ranks of our most revered, brother firefighters who were cut short in their prime. Words fail at a time like this.

Misery Whip
11/3 Ab,

I am saddened by the lose of SBU E-57. I have been retired for a few years now, but I still think of the difficulty and the unpredictability of wildland firefighting, and the JOY of doing it. I know they were doing just what they wanted to do, and feel they would like to do it again. Oh, I can hear them saying now ďJust One More Time . . . .Ē

To the families and friends of E-57, have strength to continue with your lives. That is important to all of us.

To the Crew of E-57, God Speed.

Hunter
11/3 To our Forest Service family:

We want to share and pass on the honor and tribute that was paid to Pablo after his passing. After the deep sadness and sorrow it was an honor to represent the San Bernardino National Forest in the tribute to Pablo.

After Pabloís passing Engine 32, Dozer 3, Ranger 3, Ranger 1, Information 1 with support of our local cooperators and law enforcement agencies escorted Pablo to Riverside County. The 10 and 215 freeways were shut down with the help of CHP and Sheriff Office while we escorted Pablo. The overpasses were covered with numerous state, county and city emergency vehicles and paid great tribute as we passed. As we passed through the Moreno Valley area on the overpass a Moreno Valley ladder truck was fully extended displaying the American flag with other apparatus, while all personnel where standing at attention across the truck and saluted as we passed.

It was a true heroís honor as Pablo deserved and we know our fallen comrades were smiling. We were honored and proud to have taken part in this tribute paid to Pablo and his family.

Engine 32 and Dozer 3
11/3 In light of the recent tragedy I wanted to express my sincere condolences to the families of the men who lost their lives, to their co-workers, and to their friends. I think I speak for many who have been at a loss of words. This tragedy has taken it's toll on many people in the fire world and beyond. My thoughts and prayers are with all involved.

I wanted to thank those who have been working to find the arsonist who started this devastating fire. Many folks worked hard, long hours. WE THANK YOU. Also, a very big thank you to Vicki Minor, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and Casey Judd, and those that made the trip to comfort Pablo while he was fighting for his life. This is how we, the FIRE COMMUNITY, support each other. Let us never forget....... Godspeed my brothers

firechic
11/2 Dear AB,

I wanted to share a little love story with you all…
Jason who we lost last week left behind a wonderful sweet girlfriend named Staci.
I met her on Tuesday, she showed me a quilt she had made for him and a scrapbook full of pictures.
As I looked thought the album, I could see the love in Jason's eyes for his sweet Staci.
I think those two packed more in the time they were together than most of us do in a life time.
Jason had picked out a beautiful engagement ring for Staci and was paying on it.
This evening Staci's dad will be giving her Jason's ring... tied to a rose.

I believe that is the best money the 52 CLUB has ever spent…

Vicki Minor

Jason would have loved this. We will not forget. Thanks, Vicki. Ab.

11/2 First and foremost, my sincere heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the family & friends of Pablo Cerda... Lotzi, Jess, Jason & Dan included. My grief cannot compare to that of family & co-workers. I wish I had the ability to write wise words and help relieve your sorrow.

River

11/2 To say my heart is broken and my spirit crushed is merely an understatement.
To sleep comfortably at night knowing that families are mourning their lost, is impossible. To know that somewhere a cry is so painful he/she cannot catch their own breath...unbearable.

Helpless is a repeated word that enters my mind on a seemingly constant basis. I feel helpless that I cannot console, helpless that I cannot take away the pain of loss, helpless that I'm simply helpless.

We are so trusting of firefighters to protect our families, our homes and our land. They not only protect us but protect each other. No one knows why or when our time is up, but I do know that we all serve a purpose here on this earth, just as those lost did. We may not know their exact purpose, but we know that they were brave amazing human beings and they deserve to be celebrated... their lives deserve to be celebrated!

What I can do is pray... pray for those who are suffering and pray for those who suffered. When you find yourself helpless, pray for the minds and hearts of all of them. Pray that their spirits are not crushed and that they do not become discouraged. Pray that they remember why they do what they do. This is a time to remember that the world is so much larger than we are and supporting each other is the only way we survive.

My prayer list is long, my heart will be content with what I can do.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

J.Hart
~the apple of a Captain's eye~

11/1 To the Families, Friends, and Co-workers of Alandale Engine 57,

My words cannot assuage you of your loss
I would willingly take your pain that it might relent
I only hope that you cherished the time you had with my brothers
I knew them not personally, but we shared a common desire
To serve our families and country, to make a difference in the world
Their job was a labor of love, of the natural world and the lives of those around them

I will come to Glen Helen and stand with you, to remember my fallen brothers
Shed a tear for those lost and those left behind, and hope to soothe the wounds
Not only do I grieve but thousands, if not more, just like me
We loved our brothers and we love you, we are forever connected.

Godspeed Lotzi, Jess, Jason, Daniel and Pablo.

sting
11/1 The Engine 57 Memorial web site is up - though not entirely operational yet - at www.engine57memorial.org. They are working feverishly on completing the content to provide as much information as possible about the memorial. Right now only the RSVP form is operational but more will be forthcoming very soon. Please use the RSVP form for the memorial so we can begin to estimate the fire community's response - though we expect and hope for a very respectful response.

To BATGRL12, I know you don't want to fill out the log. But, the care and the support that has been provided to the families during this difficult time needs to be documented so it can be duplicated if, (though hopefully never) care like this needs to be given. So many details that you took care of - so many items that you and Larry accomplished need to be remembered so we can all learn and profit from the awesome work you have done. All of the Family Liaisons, the Family Support Group Supervisors, and the personnel in each group are doing a wonderful job - way beyond what was ever hoped for. So, if you aren't gonna do a unit log I hope you are ready to do a brain dump some time to help us get this in writing.

This is the emotionally draining and difficult assignment I have had in 31 seasons.
OpsGeek

Thanks for everyone's good work on this. Ab.

11/1 Ab Announcement:

As most of you know, there's going to be a public memorial for Engine 57 this Sunday at the Glen Helen Hyundai facility in Devore. pdf file announcement (small pdf)

Here are a couple of places to watch for developing information on the upcoming memorial. Planners are working on a system to get feedback and, I believe, a "request to participate form" that can be managed on the web.

This site is propagating over the internet now. It comes up on my screen, but may not come up on yours. It will have more information in it soon. The CIIMT1 is working as hard as it can to get this organized.
www.engine57memorial.org/

Esperanza Incident on Inciweb with information on the Memorial Service on Sunday, including maps:
www.inciweb.org/incident/525/

San Bernardino National Forest Website
www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/

11/1 I just heard this morning that the fifth member of Engine 57's crew, Pablo Cerda, passed on. I was hoping and praying for a miracle but now he's gone. I can only hope that he is now in a better place. Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the family members and friends of those fallen.

SR
11/1 To the Families of Our Fallen Brothers,
On behalf of our engine crew, we are sending our
Condolences and Prayers to each and everyone of you.
Our Hearts were broken and our spirit pierced when we
had learned of this tragedy. We pray that each and
everyday the memories of your loved ones would give
you strength, perseverance, and endurance to overcome
the brokenness that you all must be feeling. We here,
will always remember and Honor Our Brothers of BDF
Engine 57. Our hearts are with everybody who has
suffered through this. May God be with you all.

LPF Engine 38
11/1 First time I met Lotzi.... Mid 1980's.

Last time I got to hang out... at Rock Camp Station on the San Bernardino National Forest in 2006....

For some damn reason, I cannot remember the name of the fire and it really disturbs me.

I felt so good as an Ops Chief to know that Lotzi was coming as one of my division supervisors.... he was one of the most experienced fireline supervisors I have ever known and we were putting him on a critical portion of the line on the fire. He did an excellent job, but I can't remember the name of the fire.

Sorry for not being able to kick down more and explain the details. Lotzi was a friend I have known on fires for over twenty years and somehow I just can't remember more than his face and him sitting in his utility vehicle.

The 1987 "Dollywood" trip that both VG and DR took.... is priceless in my memory slides. Remember something about El Cariso HS getting booted from the hotel because "they threw" a newbie out the window... literally.

VG and DR started the trip on the same plane and returned home on the same plane. So many stories to tell.

KCK
11/1 Ab and the entire firefighting community,

I would like everyone to at some point in their busy day to stop and reflect, Just for a second stop what ever you are doing and think about you loved ones and the loved ones of those that were lost this past week. They died doing the job that we all love and are trained for. We will take lessons from this incident and we will remember the lost as heroes. Their sacrifice will not be in vain. Take care out there people. The most important thing you can do on a fire is to come home when it is all over. Acres of land grow back, houses are rebuilt and lively hoods are restored. But lives cannot be brought back. If sacrificing one more tree means your crew comes home than so be it. May those that were lost be remembered and the job to continue...

Firenorm
11/1 The services for Jason McKay are as follows:

The visitation will be held on November 02, 2006

Dudley Mortuary
16095 Tuscola Rd, Apple Valley CA 92307,
1800 - 2000.

The service to celebrate his life will be held:

November 03, 2006
10:00 AM

High Desert Church
14545 Hook Blvd
Victorville, CA 92392

All uniformed personnel, engine and hotshot crews, chief officers, need to be at the church by 0900. The family has opened the service to the public, but you all are their priority for seating. The auditorium holds 2500, get the word out, for Bonnie I'd like to have a butt in every seat.

After the service, there will be a procession from the church to the reception which the family is holding to honor you. Please stop by even if it is only for a minute. The family feels your prayers and now they need to see and touch you as you are part of the family now and forever. They are a family of stories, if you have one or a fond memory of Jason or you just want to tell them how you are feeling, put it on paper and bring with you to the reception. We'll have a box set aside to receive them.

It has been an honor to serve with Larry Busby as their Family Liaisons, Jason started his career with the Forest Service on the Mojave Crew. I don't know if I could ever do this again, it is emotionally and physically draining but it is truly fulfilling and has touched my whole being in a way that I cannot explain. Everything has to be perfect for them, it just has to be. The experiences with the McKay family, from making the notification and dealing with the death of Jason to laughing so hard you wished you had a Depends Undergarment on, I wouldn't change it for the world. I just want to hug each and every one of my firefighters, to comfort them also and let them know that everything is going to be okay. Randy, thanks for answering the phone. You're my rock right now.

The family would like to thank those who made it possible for them to visit the accident site. Jason's mother could not thank me enough. Ron and Michelle, Thank you so much.

To my team behind the scene, I cannot apologize for wanting things to be perfect, but I do apologize for those moments where my DIVAness took the best of me. I promise to sit down and help with the IAP (even if I think it's stupid) without huffing and rolling my eyes. I hope that I was dreaming, but to the person that told me to fill out a daily unit log and I said to kiss my ass, I am sorry for that -but I still ain't doing it.

Again on behalf of the McKay family, thanks for everything and everyone update your emergency notification card!!!

See you Friday.

BATGRL12

11/1 We share your grief and express our condolences to the
families and friends of BDF E-57. Mark Loutzenhiser,
Jess McLean, Jason McKay, Daniel Hoover Najera and
Pablo Cerda are gone from this world, but will not be
forgotten. We continue to offer prayers for peace and
comfort for the families and friends. May God grant
those blessings through the troubling and painful
times ahead. As a fellow citizen, I appreciate their
service to the public. How I wish it weren't
ultimate...

Greg from the Sabine National Forest, Texas
11/1 Saw that we lost our only survivor...Condolences to our brothers and family.

Dave

10/31 I would like to take a moment to tender my heartfelt sorrow at the passing of those lost in So. Cal.

Class C Sagebrush Faller

10/30 Addressed To: All Federal Wildland Firefighting resources, Region 5, California
From: William Molnar, Regional Fire Engine Captains’ representative
Regarding: Esperanza Fire Tragedy / October 30, 2006

Dear friends and fellow firefighters, I am saddened and at an enormous loss
for words to express the tragedy and loss of lives we have suffered on the
San Bernardino National Forest. These brave men and co-workers were a
piece of our foundation and represented the valiant efforts and duties that
each of us performs each fire season in Region 5 – California.

These were not just Wildland Firefighters who were injured and killed in
the line of duty; these are our brothers, friends, family members, sons,
husbands and so much more. I apologize for this delay in response but the
grief here on the San Bernardino National Forest is greater than most can
imagine and more than any family should endure.

As the Chair Elect of the California Fire Engine Captains group
representing California’s region 5, I offer our groups most humble and
sincere condolences to each and every friend and family member of our
fallen firefighters as well as our hopes, thoughts and prayers for Pablo
Cerda who is bravely fighting for his life.

The Captains’ Group in the Region has been shaken at our foundation over
our loss of these souls and there have been many requests to help, assist
and provide comfort in many ways that are generous in nature.

I ask that each of you keep these families in your thoughts and prayers, I
ask that each of you stand down with your crews and review safety protocols
and procedures and most of all, I ask that all of us take time to ensure
that each of our employees know that they are more than just someone we
work with, they represent the fabric of our efforts in wildland
firefighting amongst Forest Service Fire Engines throughout California!

These men will be greatly missed: Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, 44, of
Idyllwild; Fire Engine Operator Jess McLean, 27, of Beaumont; Assistant
Fire Engine Operator Jason McKay, 27, of Phelan; and firefighter Daniel
Hoover-Najera, 20, of San Jacinto. They died in the line of duty and
endured the ultimate sacrifice for the public they served.

As the regional Captains’ representative, I encourage all who read this
letter to join the Wildland Firefighter Foundation “52 Club” and make
donations that truly make a difference to all who have been touched by
these tragedies. This is one of the most compassionate and significant
acts of kindness that each of us can contribute in this time of great
sorrow. We are truly fortunate to have such an organization who serves as
our wings of hope and a guiding light in the face of great tragedy. 
(http://www.wffoundation.org).

With sincere and heart felt condolences from all of our Captains and
Firefighters who represent the Fire Engine Workforce throughout California,

/s/ William Molnar
U.S. Forest Service
Regional Captains’ group
Representative – Region 5
10/30 To the family and friends of BDU E57 and fellow fire fighters of the USFS:

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this sad time. 

Personnel from our wildland team responded to the Cedar Fire three years ago, 
and remember the horrifying news of the Novato burnover. As the anniversary 
date of that incident approached, we were horrified to learn the news of Engine 
57 and crew. 

You have our deepest sympathy, and we hold Fire Fighter Cerda in our daily 
prayers.

Respectfully,
Tempe Fire Department Wildland Fire Team
Tempe, Arizona Fire Department
10/30 It is with great sadness that I am posting to this site. My sympathy and prayers go out to the families of the wildland firefighters and to the family of the badly injured survivor of engine 57. Although I don't know any of them, they are still considered family because I have a son and daughter-in-law in wildland fire. That makes us all family. 

My thoughts and prayers will be with the families during these difficult times and they will be remembered in my prayers daily as I pray everyday for all our wildland firefighters. We knew one of the firefighters that was killed in the Krassel helicopter crash just a couple of months ago. My son worked with him at Krassel. These brave men and women in wildland fire are to be honored for their bravery and dedication and too often are forgotten.

Again deepest sympathy to the families, co workers, and friends of Engine 57. Our thought and prayers are with you.

Fire Mom from Wheeling, IL

10/30

Our Lord, We humbly ask for the blessings of the 57 Engine Crew. We thank thee Oh Lord for taking them into your care and comfort, And we ask Lord for the Blessing, Comfort and Compassion of the Families and Loved Ones, May their Pain and Suffering be lightened by your ever touching Solice and Love. We ask thee Lord for the blessing of Firefighter Pablo Cerda, Pleae Oh Lord grant him strength and comfort to over come his injuries and pain, Lord please grant Pablo's family and loved ones strength, and courage as they stay at his side. We ask for these ask for these Blessing Oh Lord in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ...Amen.

These are trying days for ALL of us in the Fire Service, no matter of Agency, Department, Career, Color of truck one rides, Wildland, Municipal, Federal or Local, Union or Volunteer, we all face the common enemy....Fire. And the beast is unbiased about who it takes on and where, Fed Firefighters in an WIU Environment, Municipal Firefighters in a dilapidated apartment complex or Volunteers in a single family dwelling. This is no time for "Us vs Them", The need to "lawyer Up", Point Fingers, Assess Blame, I'm sure there will be time for that and somebody will get out the swiss cheese and figure out what part of the brain accounted for human behavior factors on that day, the one we all fear.

I've been doing this job for more than 20 years and it doesn't get any easier with the loss of 1 firefighter anywhere in the country. I watched the sunday service at the Esperanza fire yesterday, lots of different crew shirts there but you can bet there was more with them in spirit. We'll never forget the 57 Engine Crew and we all need to get behind Firefighter Cerda. May God Bless Him, the 57 Engine, Families and All of You.

Ron Thomas
Division Chief

10/29

This is what my girlfriend an I wrote about what just happened. Mike McGee

~~~~~~~~~~~

We have to wonder...
could it have been me?
What drove us to this degree
Fire? Weather? or Topography?
where would I be?
To those of CA-SBU ENG-57
And I'm sure the rest of us would agree
Eric Clapton said it best.....
Would you recognize me in heaven?

 

10/28 Words can not adequately express my sincere condolences to the families 
of the wildland firefighters who lost their lives on the Esperanza fire. 

I don't know them to give then a hug, or to tell them I said a prayer for them. 
But I will make a donation on their behalf and can only hope this will help them 
know how much they are thought of. 

I'm not in fire service, but appreciate all who are.
Pat H
Niland, CA
10/28 News from the past..... a fitting tribute to the members of San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57.

A arsonist took the lives of people who were committed to protecting lives, communities, property, and natural resources. That arsonist also changed the lives of countless others for years to come, if not forever. I hope and pray that this arsonist is caught before he does additional damage to the lives of others.

Mark, Jesse, and Jason were all emergency medical technicians and equipped to perform this heroic task (below) back in August. I can't imagine the outcome of the story if the folks from E-57 weren't there back in August....... Because of some arsonist/murderer, they will never be here in the future to perform other such great deeds......

They are so missed by all of us.

Lobotomy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Forest Service crew delivers baby boy

Idyllwild Town Crier
August 31, 2006
By J.P. Crumrine
Assistant Editor

On Sunday in the midst of the musical pandemonium at the Jazz in the Pines, another bit of pandemonium occurred within a mile of the Forest Service's Alandale Guard Station.

Engine 57's crew, led by Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, delivered a baby. "This was first time I know of anything like this," he said.

Jody and Claudia Posey of Idyllwild left home to deliver their baby at a midwife's in Indio. They barely got beyond Alandale. Jody flagged down a car and asked the driver to alert the Idyllwild Fire Department, according to Claudia.

Fortunately, he stopped at the first fire station, Alandale, and crew 57 responded. With two paramedics on his crew, Loutzenhiser felt comfortable dealing with the emergency, so he began directing traffic while Jesse MacLean and Jason McKay helped the mother who was already having contractions.

According to Loutzenhiser, McKay delivered the baby boy or at least was the official catcher.

"It was the most painfree delivery I've had," Claudia said. Brodyn Posey is her third child.

Eventually, an ambulance arrived and took the mother and child to a hospital, but both are well and at home now.
10/29 Thoughts and Prayers

Three years ago the Novato Fire District (Marin) lost one of our family
members at the Cedar Fire when Engineer Steven Rucker was killed in a
burn over of our Type III. On behalf of the Novato Fire District we
extend our sincere thoughts and prayers for the lost heroes, their
families, and the entire fire service family. We feel their pain as we
are reminded of our loss.

They were doing what Firefighters do every day. Putting themselves
between the fire and someone's property and saying, "We will defend
your home"!

Mark Heine
Novato BC
10/28 I have been reading the discussions here about the
fatal over-run up in Cabazon. I pray for those
families who have lost loved ones in this terrible
incident.

keep em' small, and God bless all...
SoCalG

10/28

Every time I turn around, I am so sorry for our losses... That Jess McLean, wasn't he was a brilliant, absolutely brilliant thinker and firefighter. I saw in him the potential to become a stellar R5 Fire Director in time. <deep breath> Well, be safe. Take care of each other. I love you all bunches.

Mellie

10/28 I have watched this week's events with a combination of horror and sorrow; so many times I have found myself staring off into space. A million and one questions are going through my mind, but now doesn't seem like the right time to ask them. I suppose we'll spend the winter talking this over. At this point, I just want to tell Pablo that I pray he can find comfort in the midst of all that's happening to him and to tell the fallen firefighters' families and friends that you are not grieving alone. Anyone who has ever swung a pulaski would like to be there with you and for you; even after the winter rains come, we will not forget.

Still Out There as an AD
10/28 Ab,

I have been trying to think what to say to these families to lift them up but unfortunately there aren't any magic words. Ken and I would just like to say we are so very sorry for the loss of these fine firefighters. The families will soon learn that the firefighting community sticks together and they will be enveloped with love and caring. I like to think that they were met by the firefighters that went before and they are sitting down tipping back a cold one. 

Love and prayers to the families and their fellow firefighters.

Ken and Kathy Brinkley
10/28 This goes out to all my fellow firefighters, friends and family -

In the past few days I have had numerous emails from our counterparts in Australia & New Zealand - an ocean may separate us, however the bond remains the same among all firefighters, no matter what uniform we wear. Know that thoughts are prayers are being sent from all over the world. I share these messages to bring a little comfort to our grieving hearts:
  • Please accept the condolences of the New Zealand fire fighters for the loss of your fire fighters. 

    Regards, John Barnes, MANAGER RURAL FIRE, CHRISTCHURCH, NZ
  • Sorry to hear this news - indeed this is very sad. Your fire season keeps going on and on - ours keeps on building. Melbourne has had 3.4mm of rain for the month of October the average is about 96mm so not looking forward to long hot summer. 

    Regards, Andrew Graystone, Parks, Victoria, Australia

On a personal note, I am so tired of loosing friends and counterparts, please don't be afraid to ask the hard questions out on the line, slow down and make sure the answers are given clearly and you understand them and above all practice LCES. Nothing is more important than making it home safely each and every time!

Thanks goodness for folks like Casey Judd and Vicki Minor, you are true angels! Prayers to the families/friends of Mark Loutzenhiser, Jess McLean, Jason McKay, and Daniel Hoover-Najera and Pablo Cerda!! Pablo I am praying you improve daily and are resting as comfortably as you can! All the five men now have a special place in my heart, even if I didn't know them personally before this terrible accident.

Sincerely - LaDiabla72

10/28 {ab, we would like this to be posted together, please}

Joint post from two grieving friends,

Sitting here trying to put together thoughts at a very tough time in my and many other peoples lives. (It was brought to my attention that putting something, anything down on paper is a help in the grieving process). I canít express enough the great loss we as wildland firefighters have lost. Besides being the heroes in many peoples eyes, firefighters in others and Forestry Technicians in certain peoples eyes, these guys were members of a great family on the San Jac District. I know personally that this is a tight family atmosphere where everyone was treated as family the day they start on this district.

I worked on the San Jac for many years before transferring to another forest and am still a part of that family, staying in contact with many of the folks on the BDF. I know I will personally miss Lotzi tremendously, (the stories I can tell). I did not get to know his crew but I am sure that if they worked with Lotz, they were special individuals. My thoughts go out to the family members of BDF E-57. Please, each person that reads this post, remember the 52 club, FWFSA, and support them and also donate to the BDF fund. Not only was the San Jac a family but all of us as wildland firefighters belong to this family. All of us ďForestry TechniciansĒ can make a difference if we try. Again, heartfelt condolences to our fallen brothers and their families.

Signed, 
stepchild

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How do we honor our most recent fallen firefighters?

First, as great friends and family members, as my buddy has said above.

Then we need to support the families, as has been said.

We also should recognize the professional and heroic actions of their brothers and sisters in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. The district engine crews in the immediate area had the daunting task of finding and assisting our fallen friends and did so with bravery and skill. Remember, all these folks were friends, many who had grown up together. Think about that. Yet, they proceeded in a manner that makes me proud, and should make all of us proud. They used their training (some of which Lotzi provided them) to safely and quickly render aid. Tears come to my eyes as I think about the trauma they experienced in this situation, but they acted as the professional firefighters they are.

Now many, many folks are pouring into the area, literally and figuratively to support our district, they too are the epitome of professionalism. Rangers, Biologists, Botanists, Archeologists, Chief Officers and even retired Forest Service folks. These folks are some of the same ones that comprise our Ďmilitiaí.

So, how do we honor our fallen firefighters?

I submit that we should recognize the true role these people play, firefighters are not Forestry Technicians! The militia does not play a Ďminor roleí in the big picture of fire suppression. Letís give credit where credit is due. Write your congressperson, support the FWFSA, and let us try to honor all firefighters by giving them their due. We all know the fed firefighters get the short end of the stick in many areas, recognition, pay and benefits. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot!

Folks like Casey, Vicky, Mellie and others are supporting us always and especially now in our time of need. 

What will you do?

Signed,
BB 
10/28 I just want to pass on my condolences to the families and friends of the
4 firefighters who died. They are the angels who tread where others fear
to walk. Via Con Dios angels

Neil R
10/28 I knew one of the firefighters that was killed, Jason McKay; he was one of my
crew bosses last year. He was really a cool guy liked to have alot of fun.

Cy
10/27 To our brothers on 57,
Though we never developed a close relationship, a familiar face is still enough when you see that person on a fire or at training. You guys were that. I know we were never on a first name basis, but we've seen each other and just that familiar face is enough to create the bond that we have. I hear some good friends of mine speak so highly of you all so it is so hard to know we've lost such great firefighters, but we know now you will be the angels watching over us. 

Jess, Jason, Mark and Daniel your sacrifice will not be in vain and we will remember you always. Pablo, I hope nothing but comfort for you and your family by whatever means is necessary. To the rest of the 57 crew, the San Jac. district, and San Bernardino NF: may you all seek comfort with your family, friends and fellow firefighters. We will get through this together! 

Mosquito 
10/27 GG, dozershot, jimhart, and many others; 

Thank you for saying so eloquently what many of us can't yet express. I've been trying, but keep finding myself staring at a blank screen for an hour at a time. And to those who are strong enough to be with the families and friends right now, God bless you all. There has to be a special place somewhere for people like you.

Honor their memory with LCES folks; I'm sick to death of burying friends.

Pyro5755
10/27 A DAY IN SAN BERNARDINO

As tanker after tanker flew low towards the immense, dynamic plume of the Esperanza Fire, I had the honor to ride along with a B/C from the San Bernardino most of the day. We also met with Vicki Minor, as usual exhausting herself on behalf of the families of our fire victims not only to meet their immediate needs of traveling here, lodging etc., but ensuring that benefits are researched with the help of Lori Greeno. I also had the honor of meeting with many firefighters who, while grieving, were focused on their jobs.

It was humbling not only to see the number of firefighters arriving at the hospital, but to listen to the generous donations coming into the WFF... Even Chris Fry, FWFSA member and recent burn victim himself, still undergoing rehab is here along with Jesse Shirly (sorry if spelling is wrong Jesse) from the El Dorado to give comfort to the family members and their fellow BDF firefighters.

The FWFSA has many members on the San Bernardino. Still others are here from other forests to not only assist with the fire but the daunting tasks associated with a multiple fatality fire. Even WT-15 from The Six Rivers NF arrived this evening. Firefighters of all ranks and many agencies are working together not only on the fire but the unenviable task of dealing with the fatalities.

I cannot be more proud of our wildland firefighting community and the effort and sacrifice they are all making during this difficult time. As time goes on, there will be even more to do as there is no getting around the fact that this tragedy will have far reaching consequences.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with those on the lines and those remembering their fallen brothers and our most heartfelt thanks remain with those doing the often thankless work of dealing with the dynamics of this tragedy.

Respectfully,
Casey Judd
10/27 My prayers, my heart, my love go to the families of
the injured and fallen firefighters tonite. We lost my
son, Danny Holmes (Arrowhead Hotshots) 2 years ago and
as Sylvia and Len Kratze so eloquently put it, "we
understand." I hope the love from the wildland
community envelops them as it did us and they are able
to feel the love and receive some small measure of
peace, as we did. During those first dark days and
right up to today, it is that love and caring, from
the firefighting community and the Wildland
Firefighters Foundation that has sustained us!
I am eternally grateful to Vicki Minor and her
work... I can think of no one better to be there with
the families and the crew.

Dee 
10/27 Hi Ab,

Just passing on my condolences and heartfelt sadness over the tragic loss of the four firefighters and sincere hope that the injured firefighter can make a recovery.

I never knew any of them but I recently attended a training session with firefighters from across the US. I can see the faces of our lost comrades in the faces of those I met. I have the utmost of respect for those who choose this profession. The sister/brotherhood is something almost inexplicable. Thinking of their families and loved ones.

Smokedawg
Canada
10/27 Ab,

I just heard and all I can say is I get really irate when I find out about tragedies like this. What really pisses me off is it was intentional!! Some stupid idiot started a fire during the time of year when Santa Ana winds are common.. I hope whoever it is gets caught, and I want to send my prayers and best wishes to the families. I won't say any more because it couldn't be printed.

AD Dispatcher
10/27 My thoughts and prayers go out today to the loved ones of our fallen heroes Mark, Jess, Jason and Daniel.
I am also sending prayers for healing and strength to our injured hero Pablo and his family.

Pat AKA/CG
10/27 My heartfelt condolences to everyone touched by our tragedy.

NorCal Tom
10/27 Ab and All,

I found this poem on the internet after 30 Mile. It speaks more profoundly
then I ever could about how I am feeling right now.

FB

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Memoriam

I lost a dear friend today that I never knew. Oh, I recognized the face Iíd
seen so many times before. Covered with soot, dirt and sweat and showing
the pain from a body pushed way beyond the limit. I didnít know his hobbies
or his favorite foods; until today I didnít even know the name. It didnít
matter at the moment if the name was Bill or Larry or Monica or Sue. What
mattered was that the loss was a fellow firefighter.

You see, being a firefighter is much more than showing up for work and
drawing a paycheck. Itís a commitment to your fellow man to be there when
you are needed, Itís a brotherhood of individuals with a common bond of
service to others and a giving of your all so that others wonít suffer.
Itís rushing into situations that everyone else is doing everything they
can to escape. Itís fighting with your entire heart, body and soul to save
the life that is so desperately in need of your tender, loving care. Itís
the living embodiment of the term ďpublic servantĒ.

My friend lived that commitment to the fullest, which is how I learned the
name. In his final call he rushed in as he had as many times before. This
time however, he paid the ultimate price. He had always been there for
others, but now we gather for him. This we do to pay our respects for a
Hero; not because he died, but because he lived and served his fellow man
well. As we pay our respects we pause and realize that for some greater
reason unknown to us, there lies our friend instead of me. As I ponder the
events that led me here words alone cannot express the intense sorrow and
yet, overwhelming pride that is felt. Until today, I didnít know the name
but I knew him wellÖ. My friend was fellow firefighter.

ĖDennis Rutledge
10/27 Talking with numerous members of our Local Union, we offer our condolences to the
families and friends of our Brother Firefighters. We feel your sadness and grief and
offer our support to you.

We will be sending a donation to the WFF for proper disbursement and encourage
all who read this and are associated with wildland firefighting to do the same. As we
have fought fires along side these individuals and had them help protect us, it is on us
now to help and protect those that they have left behind.

John Crotty
President, Vandenberg Professional Firefighters Local F-116
vpf116prez@yahoo.com 
10/27 Members of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics wish to extend condolences to the families,
colleagues and friends of those killed and injured heroically battling the fires in California.
Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with you all.

Mark Woodward
Public Information & Education Officer
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
10/27 I pray for our departed brothers and their families.

Dan, CDF
10/27 Jimhart -

For the past 16 years I've been a wildland firefighter. I have been
fortunate to experience those moments of gratitude from civilians while on
large fires. Florida '07, Washington '94, So. Cal '96 etc. But
unfortunately, more often we all encounter the constant criticisms of the
public on how we've suppressed fires, our failure to save certain
resources, or our WFU policies, and Rx programs. It used to wear me down
but after awhile, you grow a thick skin and learn to smile and be polite.

A pat on the back is no longer needed because I believe in what we do and I
believe in my FF family. In light of our differing opinions on a wide
variety of topics, we all want the same thing and work our hearts out to
achieve it -- protect life, property and resources.

But darn it if your letter didn't get to me and in light of the recent
tragedy that's put me in a pretty low mood for an indeterminable amount of
time, YOU brightened my day considerably. Just wanted to say, Thanks-

God bless the families of Mark, Jess, Jason, Daniel and Pablo.

-Dozershot
10/27 What Firefighters Mean to Me.

I donít know exactly when it happened, but at some point during the past three years whenever I thought ďfirefighterĒ a sense of respect would overwhelm everything else in my mind. Today, that respect stands like a beacon on the tallest peaks of the San Jacintos as tears fill my eyes, all of our eyes.

I never really thought about how these feelings have slowly developed within me until yesterday when I learned what had happened on the Esperanza fire above Cabazon. I was sitting in a fire station in San Diego County talking with a few guys about fire, the 2003 Cedar, when the call came in; a USFS engine company had been involved in a burn over and three firefighters were dead, two others critically injured. I felt something clutch my heart hard. My whole body shuttered.

I eventually went home and paced back and forth in the kitchen, constantly checking my computer to see if I could find news, any news on who it was. Did I know any of them? How did it happen? How could it have happened? All the faces of those I knew in the San Bernardino National Forest flashed across my mind a thousand times. I couldnít take the uncertainty any longer so I called a good friend who is a battalion chief on the Forest and left a message. He called back and I found out the guys I knew werenít on the engine that burned. Initially I was relieved. Then I felt guilty about feeling relieved. Then I wondered why this all was hitting me so hard. Thatís when I realized what the fire service had come to mean to me; it had become family.

This is all very strange you see because Iím a biologist who was once quite content studying quiet things; things that didnít take peopleís lives. Fire was the farthest thing from my mind. Then the 2003 Cedar fire blew through my life. But I wasnít impacted in a way one would expect; my house didnít burn down, I didnít know anyone whose house did, nor did I know any of those killed by the flames. Back then, like most of the civilian population, my experience with wildfire was limited to what I heard from breathless media reports and after-the-fact newspaper coverage.

What happened to me was different. I got mad, and it got worse. I grew increasing irritated over all the stupid things I was hearing about the fire from radio commentators, politicians, and self-focused academics, none of who knew (it became increasingly clear) what they were talking about. At first I believed some of what they were peddling, but then I took some time to try to understand fire myself and realized that not only were these talking heads ignorant, but their ignorant babbling was negatively influencing public opinion. Worse, their self-serving accusations were dragging down the morale of firefighters who were doing all they could to protect lives and property. They blamed firefighters for either allowing the fire to become so huge or creating conditions which made a huge fire inevitable. What a contrast Riverside County has shown the past 24 hours; professionals all.

As time went on I started meeting some of these firefighters, asking them questions while searching through the fire scar for bits of information that would help me understand what had happened. Names are not important; they are all remarkable human beings. What is important is that I came to appreciate the job firefighters do as well as the conditions under which they must operate. I can now say with confidence that unless youíve lived a career fighting fires (meaning youíve been on the fire line risking your life, not analyzing it from a safe distance), you really have no business having an opinion on the matter unless youíve checked it first with a few seasoned firefighters, the ones who know what it means to be in the thick of it.

Now that I look back, it was inevitable that I would end up sneaking into a USFS Type II wildland firefighter training course with a bunch of kids thirty years my junior. It was the most logical step. Pulaskiís, bulging lower lips filled with tobacco, cutting line through manzanita, wild personalities, one or two ex-cons, and hauling hose over a mountain; it was all part of the process. I was called Pops once. Once. That stopped when I showed these guys (and one remarkable woman) that I was able to keep up with everyone else during PT. Iíll admit it wasnít easy. One of the proudest moments in my life was when I received my Red Card. I was one of them now. I was a firefighter.

Family responsibilities have made it difficult for me to get out on the line, but my mind is always there with them, every inch of the way; breathing the dust, feeling the heat, cutting the line. Something has become a permanent part of me now that I do not fully understand. When I hear an engine siren howl I sit up straight and look around. When the air gets dry and the Santa Ana blows, cold chills run down my spine and the hair on the back of my neck stands up. When I see smoke in the air I want to go. I want to be there. I want to be with the kind of people I have come to know. I want to be with my friends. I want to be with the best bunch of people Iíve ever known. I want to be with the firefighters.

Yeah, I suppose the Fire Service must have its share of idiots. However, I havenít met any. It seems all of the idiots Iíve met are outside looking in. Thatís what I will be worrying about shortly, after-the-fact projections and finger pointing. Iím not talking about the investigation which may or not help us understand, I donít know how they run those things. Iím talking about those who see this wildfire as just another opportunity to promote their one-size-fits-all theories concerning what they claim as the lousy job the USFS has done managing the landscape, how conservationists have prevented this or that, or how the Fire Service failed to properly protect some particular community. Iím hoping the tragedy will slap some reality into these people, but if past fires are any indication, probably not.

All of that is irrelevant now though. What occupies my mind today are the firefighters who have been killed, four as of today with one fighting with every once of strength he has left, and their families. I want to hug them and protect them. I want the world to always remember them and crowds to grow silent when their names are spoken. I want everyone to recognize each and every day how firefighters are always there, ready to help, no matter the dangers. I want those ďThank You FirefighterĒ signs along the roadways to become permanent to help everyone to remember, on a daily basis, the price Americaís best are willing to pay to protect us in one of the most dangerous, fire-prone environments on earth.

There are experiences in oneís life that can be defining or can change forever how one sees the world. Getting to know and become friends with firefighters over the past three years has done that for me. Itís too late to start a career in the Fire Service for me now, but I sure know what direction I would go if I had to do it all over again. Iíd be a firefighter. I want all of you to know that it has been an honor to be invited into your stations, your engines, and your homes. Iíve enjoyed every second Iíve spent with you. Iím just sorry that I never had the chance to meet Mark, Jess, Jason, Daniel, and Pablo before the flames. You guys are heroes and define all that is good in this country. All of you are the best people on earth.

Godspeed.

jimhart
10/27 Our prayers are with the families. 

A Member of Feser's CA Interagency Incident Management Team.

10/27 We lost some of the best and brightest firefighters I have ever known today. While most of these fine young folks have yet to be identified to the press, one firefighter, Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser is someone I have known for nearly 25 years from our early hotshot days. Family man with 5 kids and a loving wife. When I heard that his family was at his side during the time of his passing, it made me start bawling, not because of their and our loss, but because they were given a chance to say goodbye.... it brought some peace in the chaos of today. This was not the only time I started bawling today.... In times like this, it is O.K. to cry.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the fallen. I also want to thank everyone who has offered condolences and offers of help to so many San Bernardino NF firefighters today. My phone never stopped ringing from all of the great folks in the wildland fire community. It is still a little early for knowing what help is going to be needed, but the family liaisons will let us all know when, and if, the need arises.

A good group of people are currently down here providing support to the families, friends, and co-workers. Vicki Minor from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation arrived around 6 P.M. and sprung into action as she always does. Grief counselors, chaplains, CISD counselors, friends, neighbors, retirees, and others have also been mobilized to provide support.... it means alot to all of us.

Tough times are ahead, but we will endure and continue. The wildland fire community is indeed a pretty tight knit family. This community made me very proud today by all the support they have given, and the great restraint in posting information until family notifications could be made.

Right now, the most important things are to provide support and comfort for the spouses and children left behind, and for the survivor families, friends and co-workers.

Take care and keep safe,

Lobotomy
10/27 Ab, Vicki told me this morning that Jesse Shirley, the Eldorado Hotshot who survived the firewhirl burnover near Winnemucca earlier this summer is heading to San Bernardino to be with the families and offer his support. Chris Fry, survivor of the BLM engine burnover is also going. Sweet thought... Incredible heartfelt action. Mellie
10/27 To the families of the fallen wildland firefighters, and the family of the injured:

Our condolences and all of our thoughts and prayers go out to you and all of the family members and friends and co-workers of the fallen and injured. My husband and I sat in prayer this morning and remembered you especially. It is one of the few things we can do to ease your pain and sorrow. Having lost our daughter in 2002, hearing of more fatalities always sends our heads spinning and our feelings spiraling to the moment we learned of Heather's death. One of the most important things we can offer to the families at this time is our simple "we understand". We know how you feel, and you are not alone in your suffering. It cannot change things, but know that there are those who do understand your pain, and we are with you in spirit at this unbearably sad time.

Sylvia and Leonard Kratzke
10/27 To the family and co-workers of the fallen heroes:

My thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters and their families every
day of the year. Today I send my condolences and continue to pray.

My sympathy,

Virginia Ezzell
Tuttle, Oklahoma
10/27 A co-worker of mine came up to me and told me about the fire in Riverside. He knew I was ex-wildland and ex-fed and my heart breaks again. This has been a season of injury and death and to all those still out there- stay safe, stay aware, and don your PPE. I have had random friends that I know e-mail me to say they heard the news and are saying prayers-the network needs to pull together to support the community and families.

I was watching the news and there were guys spraying hoses with ball caps on, ones with most of the PPE on but no gloves.... It's crazy out there but please put that protective layer on and watch out for each other.

Take care out there.

GISgirl
10/27 RE: Vigilante justice would be appropriate

This arsonist asshole has been starting fires for the last six months in the area. Now he has killed some of my friends. I take it personal from now on. If I catch that SOB, better be some LEOs around to keep me from stringing his ass up a tree,

Noname

10/26 As I watched yesterday's events unfold via the HotList, news reports, etc., I found myself profoundly saddened and, shortly thereafter, angered as well. Angered not only at the fact that our family members' deaths were caused by an arsonist, but that they died trying to protect structures. No life is worth any structure, any tree, any blade of grass anywhere.

May the surviving firefighter and families and friends of those who have passed have the strength to endure these very trying times. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

- mw
10/26 My heartfelt sorrows to the families both blood and forest service..

hugh

10/26 These young men that lost their lives where some of the finest firefighters I have had the privilege to work with. Their loss will be huge, they were truly the type of people that would have changed our worlds. I cannot express my profound sorrow at this. I will miss you all and will carry you in my heart until we meet again.

"And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs,
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills,
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky. "

Brothers gone, but never forgotten.

CB
10/26 Like all, I'm saddened by the loss of the firefighters on the Esperanza Fire today, and offer my condolences to the friends, family, and co-workers of those lost. Having come "most of the way" through a long fire career without having lost someone very close, I cannot imagine what this tragedy must be like, and feel that any words to express sympathy seem pretty puny. All the tougher knowing that the fire was arson, which makes harder to make sense of the loss. Can't even really describe the anger and disgust that knowledge brings. Murdering firefighters in the line of duty somehow seems more despicable than most crimes I can imagine.

Again, my most sincere condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of the fallen. It sounds as if we've lost some fine colleagues.

GG Fire

10/26 To all my Berdue brothers and sisters:

How devastating... I got home from work and checked my email, and when I saw 4 ff killed in Cabazon on my Yahoo links I had a horrible feeling. I called Mary and we both wept; I weep as I write this. The loss of the folks at that station, dear Lotzi and all, breaks my heart.

I love and miss you all.

All my love and prayers to all of you and your families--

Caroline
Del Rosa 90, 97; Engine Pup 92-96
10/26 Esperanza losses

Heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the families and friends of those who
lost their lives today, and to all firefighters - from a 'civilian.'

When you live in 'fire country' as we do, you are all our heroes and our
respect and gratitude for all you do is immeasurable.

Jo
10/26 Thoughts and prayers go out to the fire community, friends, 
and families of those killed. 

elg

10/26 My condolences, thoughts, and prayers for everyone involved in the Esperanza incident.

Wish I could do more to help.

W0DSV
10/26 To all of the wildland fire community,

Lets stop to think for a minute about this tragedy. I have worked/fought fire here before and it saddens me to hear the news. I would ask all of you to drop whatever it is we we're doing to support these families in anything we can give them.... especially prayer and love

signed JERRY SERABIA
10/26 On behalf of our members, especially those on the San Bernardino who are dealing with this painful day in very personal ways, we offer the families, friends & co-workers of those lost today our most heartfelt sympathy and share their sorrow.

Vicki Minor of the WFF is on her way down to San Bernardino and I will be heading out first thing in the morning. While the firefighting community across the country is a large one and rallies around the loss of any firefighter, we know the wildland family is unique and so incredibly special.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of you and remain so incredibly proud of what you do.

With Greatest Respect,

Casey Judd
10/26 I am a 4th year firefighter on the Gila National Forest. I want to say that my prayers are with the friends and families of our fallen firefighters. My family and I will continue to pray for all the firefighters and their families.

Thank you
CR
10/26 To the Fire Community and Families

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Souls', and Families of 
those Heroes killed and injured today; while dong their job.

Thank you firefighters for all you do.

Just can not find the right, printable, words to express my contempt 
for those who started this disaster.

Again my condolences to the fire community and the families 
traumatized by this situation.

RJM

10/26 Friends,

Time for prayers and tears in that order but both at the same time is what most of us are doing.

Godspeed to those who gave all.

NMAirBear
10/26 Another bad day in Wildland Fire Suppression......Lets remember our basic
principles even this late in a very long drawn out fire season....Our
thoughts and prayers are with the families of victims involved in today's
tragedy. All fire related personnel need to give portions of what little
money we make to the victims families to help with the loss. Lets pull
together and never forget we are all at risk everyday.

Wyo Fuels
10/26 God Speed Brothers.....................

Foxtrace
10/26 Ab,

Words don't come easy at sorrowful times like these. My prayers
for the families and friends of the fallen and injured.

vfd cap'n
10/26 Another critically injured firefighter has died. Ab.
10/26 BIG hug for families, friends, Honor Guard, Chaplain, investigators,
notifiers, everyone linked to the loss of our folks on the Esperanza
Fire. I'm stunned again at how quickly this can happen and we're
changed forever.

God's speed to those who died. My heart spills over with tears and
goes out to families and close friends... I have you all in my prayers. 
How I pray for Lotzi and Pablo's recoveries if that is to be.

Take care of each other. Be Safe.

Mellie
10/26 My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those
who lost their lives and those who were injured on the Esperanza fire.
Godspeed to those involved. This is truly a sad day for the wildland
firefighting community.

SR
10/26 Here's a link to the news on the Esperanza fire:

"Three Firefighters Killed While Battling Wildfire"
www.nbc4.tv/news/10163023/detail.html?taf=la

Dave

10/26 > From the associated press a few minutes ago:

Sorry no link to it.

(AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service says three
firefighters have been killed and two critically injured battling a
wildfire near Palm Springs.

AH

10/26 The USFS has told AP that 3 FS firefighters have been killed and 2
injured in the Esperanza Fire. Our thoughts and prayers for the fallen
and their families.

Ab.

   

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