A Los Angeles County firefighter, a 21-year firefighting veteran and the father of two teen boys, died Thursday after suffering injuries during a house fire in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Fire crews were called to the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road at around 2:20 a.m. A fire was burning in the attic of the single-family home.
Interim Chief Anthony Marrone said the firefighter was inside the home, helping to save family members, when he was overcome by smoke and fire.
“He put out a mayday for assistance from other firefighters,” Marrone said. “They were able to locate him and rescue him.”
Firefighter Jonathan Flagler later died at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
In a statement from Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, it was announced the firefighter died.
“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. “This is devastating and my prayers are with his wife and two young sons as well as his friends and colleagues in the Fire Department and everyone that knew and loved him. His bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
At a morning news conference, Hahn called it a “sad, tragic day” for Los Angeles County.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A member of the sheriff’s department said arson investigators are at the scene with other agencies. He said the case is not considered a criminal investigation.
Fire trucks and other department vehicles were at the hospital Thursday morning in Carson. Marrone said he arrived at the hospital hoping to hear the injured firefighter had survived.
“He lost his life battling that fire to save somebody’s property,” Marrone said. “All of the preliminary information 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.”
A procession carried the body of Flagler from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office in Boyle Heights. Firefighters on fire trucks saluted from freeway overpasses. The procession passed under a U.S. flag suspended by two ladder trucks at the entrance to the medical examiner’s office in Boyle Heights.
Flagler worked with the Vernon Fire Department for 19 years before joining Los Angeles County’s agency in October 2020.