A year after Conception boat fire, plaque at Santa Barbara Harbor commemorates 34 victims

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The first anniversary of the scuba boat fire that killed 34 people off Southern California has been commemorated at Santa Barbara Harbor, where the ill-fated trip began and a memorial has been put in place.

Relatives of those who died and first responders were among those who came Wednesday to view a plaque bearing the victims’ names.

In a recorded online commemoration, Harbor Patrol Officer Ryan Kelly recounted how he and a partner were among those called to respond when the MV Conception was reported ablaze off Santa Cruz Island on Sept. 2, 2019.

He says it turned out to be the most tragic call of their careers. 

Yadira Alvarez-Peterson holds her 3-year-old daughter, Renata Alvarez-Peterson, while talking about her 16-year-old daughter Berenice Felipe, who was one of the 34 people who died in the Conception boat fire a year ago Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Yadira Alvarez-Peterson holds her 3-year-old daughter, Renata Alvarez-Peterson, while talking about her 16-year-old daughter Berenice Felipe, who was one of the 34 people who died in the Conception boat fire a year ago Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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