On Sunday, thousands of firefighters and citizens attended a 200-mile funeral procession for a firefighter killed last week in the Thomas fire.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, 32, was killed Thursday as he and a five-engine strike team battled a “very active part of the fire” located near Fillmore in Ventura County.
All 17 firefighters were taken off the front lines–where they’d been since December 5–following Iverson’s death. California Governor Jerry Brown also ordered all Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff, the newspaper wrote.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner determined that Iverson died of burns and smoke inhalation, according to CBS News. Reports indicated that the firefighter leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter and pregnant wife.
“My heart shattered when I learned what happened to him,” Cal Fire San Diego spokesman Jon Heggie told the Times.
“I can only imagine the pain his wife and his family are going through, and all of us in the fire service are feeling it for them.”
— Steven Luke (@stevenlukenbc) December 17, 2017
Numerous firefighters and residents paid their respects to the fallen hero Sunday as his funeral procession made its way to El Camino Memorial Park in Sorrento Valley. KNSD reported that the procession left the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office at around 10 a.m. and reached Iverson’s final resting place at 2:12 p.m.
“We were never alone for 203 miles today,” Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham told the local station.
“For 203 miles not a single overpass did not have multiple fire engines standing in salute.”
Somber salute from fellow firefighters in Ventura County. Funeral procession for fallen @CALFIRESANDIEGO firefighter Cory Iverson, 32 — father and husband. He will be laid to rest in San Diego County. Part of strike team that battled #ThomasFire. @NBCLA pic.twitter.com/q0gH6PBLvt
— Gene Kang (@GeneNBCLA) December 17, 2017
The Thomas fire is the third largest fire in California’s history. The Times reported that the 270,000-acre blaze, which spans Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, is 45 percent contained as of Sunday.
[Featured Image: Cory and Ashley Iverson/GoFundMe]