Saturday, August 20, 2022 marked the 29-year anniversary of the tragic line-of-duty deaths of Fire Suppression Aids (FSAs) Arthur Ruezga and Christopher Herman who lost their lives while battling the Glen Allen Fire in the foothills above Altadena.
The Glen Allen Fire started as a vehicle fire that quickly spread to nearby brush in the afternoon of Friday, August 20, 1993. Our Department worked with the U.S. Forest Service to battle this wildfire. FSAs Ruezga and Herman, along members of Crew 2-2, responded to the incident by helicopter from Fire Camp 2.
Approximately 35 minutes into their work, crew members paused to evaluate the fire, assess options, and weigh safety measure considerations. The decision was made to engage on a very rugged and steep piece of downhill terrain, cutting along an underslung line. Tragically, the crew was burned over, taking the lives of FSAs Ruezga and Herman, and critically burning two other crew members who are currently with our Department, Fire Fighters Chris Barth and Gabe Larios. Five others narrowly escaped unharmed.
Our Department family vowed to never forget that fateful afternoon; the courage and sacrifice of FSAs Ruezga and Herman have not been in vain or forgotten as well as the strength and resilience of Fire Fighters Barth and Larios for continuing to talk about and share their experience. A moment of silence and an “All Call” were activated on Saturday, August 20, 2022, at 1616 hours, to commemorate the incident and honor everyone affected by this tragedy.
As a result of the Glen Allen Fire, there have been many updates and improvements in the way our Department trains, responds to, and handles wildland incidents.