A veteran Los Angeles firefighter who responded to a blaze in an attic fire early Thursday morning died after being pulled out of the house by his fellow crew mates.
LA County fire officials said Jonathan Flagler, 47, responded to a call at about 2:50 a.m. of a house fire in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said at a press conference on Thursday that firefighters were able to rescue the family from inside the burning home, “but tragically, one of our own Los Angeles County firefighters lost his life in the effort.”
Flagler was critically injured and rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance where he later succumbed to his injuries. Officials confirmed Flagler’s name Thursday afternoon after his family was able to say their final goodbyes to the fallen firefighter.
“The smoke and the fire overcame my member,” Interim Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said at the press conference. “He put out a mayday for assistance from the other firefighters that were at the scene and they were able to quickly locate, rescue him and start the life-saving procedures as necessary.
“They fought valiantly to save his life and unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide bureau, Cal/OSHA and arson investigators will continue to investigate the cause of the fire, Lt. Charles Calderaro said at the press conference.
“When you see firefighters throughout your community today, no matter where you live, no matter what city you’re in … know they are there for you and that they’re ready to put their life on the line for you,” Marrone said. “And we certainly appreciate the outpouring of prayers and support.”
Fire crews led a solemn 20-mile procession from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance to the LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office Thursday afternoon.
Flagler leaves behind a wife and two teenage sons. He was a 21-year veteran of the fire service and worked with the Vernon Fire Department for 19 years before transferring to the LA County Fire Department in October 2020.
“This is devastating and my prayers are with his wife and two young sons as well as his friends and colleagues in the Fire Department and everyone that knew and loved him,” Hahn said in a tweet. “His bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she was saddened by the loss of a brave member of the department.
“Our LA County Fire Department has tragically lost one of its brave firefighters today,” Barger said in a release. “While we await to learn more, my heart is heavy and I’m deeply saddened. He has made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the line of duty. I send my most sincere condolences to his family and Fire Department colleagues. His bravery will not be forgotten.”