A procession along the Foothill (210) freeway to honor fallen firefighter

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Over 50 personnel from Glendale Fire and Police Departments, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, California Department of Correction and Los Angeles County Fire lined the west side of the Ramsdell Avenue bridge over the Foothill (210) freeway to show their respect and to honor the two fallen firefighters that lost their lives during the Station Fire.   Similar  memorial displays were at several other freeway bridge crossings across La Crescenta.

They stood at attention and saluted as the procession carrying Capt. Tedmund “Ted” Hall, 47, drove east bound on the Foothill (210) freeway.  L.A. County Fire Captain Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 35, were killed Sunday when their vehicle went over the side of the road near Camp 16 at Mt. Gleason.  The camp housed inmates who are trained to fight wild fires.

Sgt. D. Bakewell from California Department of Corrections had been assigned to  Camp 16 until last February.  He  was at the freeway memorial with a crew from Camp 11. Bakewell knew the two fallen firefighters well and shared the fire department’s loss.  He said the inmates, corrections department and US Forest Service all worked closely together.

“We were like a family,” he said.

Bakewell said he was witness to the value of the program and saw how important mentors like Hall and Quinones were to the inmates.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to any of the inmates from [Camp 16] but they are human too and will be affected by the loss They looked up to [Hall and Quinones] as mentors.  I have seen a lot of lives changed [because of that type of support],” he said.

Brothers Joseph and Noah Ruano stood along with  cousin Johnny Petromi,  their mother and grandmother to pay respect and to be with their dad, Chris Ruano an L.A. County firefighter who attended the street side memorial.

When asked if he was proud of his uncle and all the fire fighters, Johnny gave a smile and thumbs up.  Joseph said he was very proud of his father and little Noah spent most of his time in his father’s arms hugging his neck tightly.

When asked if he wanted to become a firefighter when he grew up Joseph smiled and said, “No.  I want to be a dirt bike rider.”

Chris held his children and spoke with fellow firefighters, listening as they told him how the deaths had affected them.

“Recently I was assigned [to the department] as a chaplain,” Chris said.

He added that he decided this new path because he was a Christian and wanted to be there for people.     When he first heard of these fellow firefighters’ deaths, he thought it was a rumor, he could not believe it was true.  Then when reality set in his thoughts turned to the Quinones’ family. He knew “Arnie” well and is now the chaplain assigned to  the family by the department.

“They are doing as well as expected,” Chris said.

The Station Fire was fought on all sides by all safety and emergency agencies.  Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station’s staff, deputies, detectives, reserve deputies and volunteers spent hours and days in the field protecting lives and property.  They stood along side the firefighters on Friday as the procession passed.

“We are here to honor the fallen firefighters and to show our support for all firefighters,” said Capt. Dave Silversparre.

Donations are being accepted in the memory of Capt. Tedmund Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo Quinones at F&A Federal Credit Union – “Memorial Fund” P.O. Box 30831, Los Angeles, CA 90030-9972

A memorial for the fallen firefighters will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12 at Dodgers Stadium.  For information go to email  firefightermemorial@fire.lacounty.gov or contact (323) 890-4280