RANCHO PALOS VERDES (CBSLA) — Family, friends and colleagues have joined together to honor the life of Los Angeles County Firefighter Jonathan Flagler, who lost his life early Thursday morning from an injury sustained while battling a house fire in Rancho Palos Verde.
Flagler is remembered by many as not only a good worker and friend, but a great father to his two children.
The LACFD crew responded to a one-story house fire around 2 a.m., where a fire broke out in the attic. When they arrived on scene, the family was already safe outside, but upon entering the home to battle the blaze, Flagler was overcome by the smoke.
He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.
Now, residents in the Rancho Palos Verde community have left flowers, lit candles and offered their condolences to the man who offered the ultimate sacrifice to keep his community safe.
"I feel for them, that's why I brought the flowers and wanted to pay tribute," said one community resident, who left flowers at a memorial that has continually grown throughout the day.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also issued a statement on the tragic event, ordering all flags at the California capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Flagler, "Jennifer and I send our heartfelt condolences to Firefighter Flagler's family, friends and Los Angeles County Fire Department colleagues at this difficult time. This devastating loss is a reminder of the dangers our heroic firefighters face every day to protect Californians. Firefighter Flagler's sacrifice and over two decades of selfless service will not be forgotten."
Station 83, where Flagler was a crew member for the greater part of the last two years, remained open on Thursday. Despite being in mourning, his firefighter family offered that this was the best way to commemorate Flagler's life -- going back to work for the community.
Larry Muno, who worked alongside Flagler for nearly 20 years, gave a deeper look into the man that Jonathan Flagler was, and the memory that will live on, "He was practical, honest, fair. But also, he was a firefighter's firefighter."
The two men worked together at the Vernon Fire Department prior to making their way into the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "Many times we talked about the opportunity to become Los Angeles County firefighters. Maybe over cold beverages, he was just a wonderful support system for me," Muno continued.
A man that coworkers looked up to, Flagler was also on the Board of the Firefighter's Union, as well as a key component in many philanthropic events, including this year's Christmas toy drive.
Idelle Clark, one of the owners of the home in which the fire occurred, also offered her sympathies following the event, "We are so sorry for the way in which he died and the grief their whole family must be suffering. Our heart goes out to them."
As crews continue to mourn their fallen brother, it's easy to see that Jonathan Flagler is a man that no one will soon forget.
Muno echoed that sentiment, "We'll grieve, we'll grow, we'll learn and we'll never forget Jonathan."
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