A 29-year-old firefighter who was critically injured when he fell off an aerial ladder during a training exercise in downtown Los Angeles over the weekend has died, the Los Angeles Fire Department said Monday.
LAFD has identified the firefighter as Kelly Wong, who worked for the department for two years and had been assigned to Fire Station 92 in Rancho Park, according to a statement released by the Fire Department on Monday morning.
"Today the entire @LAFD family mourns the tragic loss of Firefighter Kelly Wong. Gone too soon. His family is in our thoughts & prayers," Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas tweeted a short time after the department announced the firefighter's death.
Wong was participating in a training exercise at 348 S. Main Street near Hotel Barclay on Saturday when he fell off the ladder shortly before 9:45 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition immediately following the incident.
Wong died early Monday, according to the Fire Department.
“I join the men and women of the LAFD in mourning Firefighter Wong's sudden passing,” Terrazas said in the department's statement. “It is always a tragedy to lose one of our own, especially an accomplished individual who was still at the beginning of what was certainly going to be a promising career."
Wong earned accolades as the top academic performance in his class when he graduated in 2015 from LAFD's Recruit Academy on Terminal Island, according to the department.
He had been scheduled to transfer to Fire Station 9, which serves the downtown L.A. area, on June 12. He was working at the station at the time of the incident.
Wong is survived by his wife Danielle, his infant son Colton, his mother Ann, as well as his mother-in-law and father-in-law, and two sisters-in-law.
A procession for the firefighter was held from L.A. County USC-Medical Center to the coroner's office Monday morning. Wong's relatives, including his wife, were among those in attendance.
The widow was comforted by her husband's colleagues as she kneeled next to his body.
"I told the family that they're not alone," Terrazas said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Colton has ...3,500 uncles and aunts. We're going to watch over them. It's our obligation."
Terrazas and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti were also on hand when Wong’s body, draped in an American flag, was escorted to the coroner’s office.
“He was a hero to our city, a hero for this department, a hero for his family," Garcetti said, according to the Times.
Garcetti teared up as he spoke about baby Colton, saying the child will have a lot of support in the department and the city.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, in his capacity as acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is in China, ordered Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been released.