Firefighter killed in Thomas fire ‘died a hero,’ chief says at his funeral
Grieving family, friends and colleagues gathered at a Liberty Station church on Saturday to salute and say goodbye to a firefighter from Escondido who died facing down the Thomas fire, the largest wildfire in California history.
The private late-morning service at The Rock Church honored the memory and sacrifice of Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, who served the state agency for more than eight years prior to his Dec. 14 death in the line of duty. He had previously served Iverson with a helicopter unit at Cal Fire’s Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base in Riverside County.
“Let there be no doubt to anybody in this room that Cory Iverson died a hero,” Tony Mecham, chief of Cal Fire San Diego, told attendees. “Cory Iverson lost his life for one very simple reason: He put others first.”
Mecham said Cal Fire stations throughout San Diego County were being covered by other fire departments so that Iverson’s comrades could take part in his service.
“Cory was ours,” Mecham said. “All of ours. And that’s why we’re here.”
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