A Los Angeles County firefighter was killed while battling a blaze in a Rancho Palos Verdes home early Thursday morning.
The fire broke out around 2:20 a.m. at the single-story home in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road, a Fire Department spokesperson confirmed.
The blaze likely started in the attic of the home but what caused the fire is still under investigation, Interim Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said.
Once firefighters entered the structure, it became more engulfed and one crew member was overcome, Marrone said.
The firefighter was rescued and treated before being taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in critical condition.
Officials later announced that the firefighter had died from his injuries. He was later identified as 47-year-old Jonathan Flagler.
“Preliminary information that we have right now leads us to believe that it was the fire and the products of combustion that caused him to lose his life,” Marrone said.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn took to Twitter to confirm the firefighters death shortly after the incident.
“They were able to save the family inside, but tragically, one of our own Los Angeles County Firefighters lost his life in the effort,” Hahn said.
Hahn said the firefighter leaves behind a wife and two sons. “This is devastating … His bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten,” she said.
Flagler, a 21-year veteran firefighter, had been with the department for two years after transferring from the city of Vernon, where he began his career in 2002, Marrone said.
Marrone thanked everyone for their prayers and support following the tragic news. “Right now, the Fire Department’s priority is the care of his wife and two teenage boys.”
Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas sent his condolences and reminded everyone of the dangers that firefighters are always facing.
“Every day, when a firefighter leaves home and they hug their wife and their kids, it’s with the knowledge that they may not come home or they may be seriously injured … And today’s fatality, today’s loss, is a reminder that life is fragile. And firefighters lives are fragile,” the LAFD chief said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom also offered condolences on behalf of First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and himself.
“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,” Newsom said in a statement.
Flags at the state Capitol will be flown at half-staff in Flagler’s honor, Newsom added.