A memorial honoring a firefighter who died battling the El Dorado Fire was held in San Bernardino Friday morning.
Charles Morton, 39, died Sept. 17 while fighting the blaze as a squad boss for the Big Bear Hotshot Crew, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The blaze, which was sparked by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender-reveal party in the Yucaipa area of the San Bernardino National Forest, is now 81% contained at 22,604 acres.
The service was held at The Rock Church, 2345 S. Waterman Ave., where members from several fire departments gathered outside to pay their respects to the fallen firefighter.
The San Diego native started his career in 2002 and joined the San Bernardino National Forest in 2007. He worked for Mill Creek Interagency Hotshots and Big Bear Interagency Hotshots.
He left behind a fiancée, daughter, his parents, two brothers, cousins and friends.
During the service, loved ones said he loved nature and being outdoors.
Morton was remembered as a friend with a good heart, a dedicated family man and an honorable firefighter.
His fiancée Monica recalled that when she asked him why he had proposed, he got teary eyed.
“He grabbed me, he looked me in my eyes and he says, ‘Moni, it’s because you are the best part of me, and you make me better everyday,’” she said.
Friday’s service also included an honor cordon outside the church, the Posting of Colors, a hotshot prayer, a bell ceremony, presentations to the family and Charlie’s “Last Call,” a tradition honoring firefighters who who have died in the line of duty with a final radio call, recognizing the end of his watch.
Attendance to the service was limited to invited guests to adhere to social distancing guidelines, officials said.
Fellow firefighters and other officials honored Morton during a procession from San Bernardino to Orange Tuesday.
Cards and condolences can be sent to the Morton family at P.O. Box 63564, Irvine, CA 92602. For FedEx and/or UPS: 1 League # 63564, Irvine, CA 92602 in care of “Support for Charlie.”
A GoFundMe page has also been set up.