FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Thursday marks one year since the Porterville library fire that claimed the lives of Porterville Fire Captain Ray Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones.
“When you have a loss of this magnitude in a small town like this, it touches everybody across all the spectrums. So it’s been tough, not just for the fire department, but the community at large,” said Porterville Fire Chief David LaPere.
At 4:00 p.m., a pre-recorded memorial service will be released on the Porterville Fire Department’s Facebook page, including an Honor Guard ceremony and speeches from family members of the fallen heroes.
It will be followed by a moment of silence on the dispatch radios at 4:16 p.m. – the same time the mayday came in one year ago.
“Their memory not being forgotten, we hope that that will prevent from another incident like that happening and other families having to go through what we went through,” said Ramon Figueroa, Ray Figueroa’s father.
Porterville Fire Department has asked other fire departments to join them in two new traditions honoring their fallen brothers.
“Captain Ray Figueroa had an affinity for axes, and actually the axe I carry in my truck is a gift from Ray,” said Chief LaPere. “So during that day, everybody will be maintaining our axes in the department.”
Chief LaPere said firefighter Patrick Jones liked to wear his hat backward, so the whole department will be doing the same on Thursday.
A tribute to two local heroes whose memories live on in Porterville.