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Paying tribute to fallen firefighter

Residents join public safety officials on a 210 overpass as the procession of firefighter Tedmund Hall passes.

September 04, 2009|By Zain Shauk

LA CRESCENTA — Hundreds of residents and emergency responders filled freeway overpasses Friday in silent tribute to the passing procession of a firefighter who died battling the massive Station fire this week.

Two Glendale fire engines extended their ladders high into the air on the Ramsdell Avenue overpass, hanging a 10-foot American flag from above while ambulances and other fire vehicles parked on bridges along the procession route on the Foothill (210) Freeway toward the San Gabriel (605) Freeway and eventually to Victorville, the final destination for Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Tedmund Hall.

Hall, 47, and county fire Specialist Arnaldo Quinones, 35, of Palmdale, died when they drove off the side of a mountainous road while reportedly evading the Station fire line and fell into an 800-foot canyon.

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Residents and passing drivers who spotted the crowded bridges honked horns, waved or pumped fists out of windows.

Some interrupted their commutes to pull off the freeway and join the demonstrations in solidarity with the grieving team of 4,847 fire personnel that is still working to extinguish the nearly 150,000-acre blaze.

“I saw this on the bridge and I was really touched because I knew it was in honor of our fallen firefighters,” said Tujunga resident Nathalie Brun, who exited the freeway on her way home from a doctor’s appointment to join the group of more than 50 emergency workers and residents on the Ramsdell overpass.

A white hearse carrying Hall’s body led a procession of emergency vehicles as California Highway Patrol officers shut down the Foothill Freeway, clearing the way for the caravan.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for the firemen and women,” said Brun, who broke out in tears as she stood among grieving firefighters.

Members of the Glendale Fire and Police departments, Los Angeles County Fire Department, state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department took positions on the Ramsdell bridge, the first overpass along the procession route.

They voluntarily took part in the event, setting aside breaks and other daily responsibilities to join colleagues in paying their respects, they said.

“Any time a firefighter loses his life in the line of duty it’s tough for everyone, kind of brings it home for everyone here that we do have a dangerous job,” Glendale Fire Engineer Craig Young said.

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