Photos by Robbie Panco



On October 15th, 2016, hundreds of uniformed firefighters and family members gathered in Sacramento’s Capitol Park for a solemn, yet beautiful ceremony steeped in fire service tradition.  

This year’s California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony honored 29 firefighters whose names were added to the nearly 1,300 fallen already inscribed on the Memorial wall. 

 “As firefighters, our devotion to duty is matched only by our devotion to each other,” said Lou Paulson, CPF president and chair of the California Fire Foundation. “Some of them never considered themselves as heroes, but they lived their lives with an uncommon courage that only a hero has.” 

Hundreds of uniformed firefighters participated in the ceremony, as did state and local leaders who paid tribute to California’s fallen heroes.

“It’s really moving to be just a small part of this ceremony,” said Governor Brown. "It’s good to see where government can really be the savior, the inspiration, and the hero that firefighters represent.”  

There were also those who came to mourn the loss of a friend and brother in arms. Jeff Donabedian, president of Oxnard Firefighter’s Association Local 1648, honored the memory of fallen firefighter Scott Carroll.

“About a year ago I got one of the worst phone calls of my life,” Donabedian said. “Scott was the best of us. He cared so deeply about his brothers and sisters in the fire service, and he set such a great example in how he cared for his family, too.” 

The ceremony culminated the presentation of a U.S. flag to each family of the fallen firefighters being added to the memorial.

For the first time, a statewide Safety Stand-Down was held in honor of the Memorial. Fire departments all over the state were encouraged to watch the live stream video online. More than 3,000 people tuned in to watch, including those who were on duty at fire stations across California. 

The California Firefighters Memorial was unveiled in April of 2002 and annual ceremonies have been hosted in the fall of every year since. The 2017 Memorial will be held on October 14, 2017.

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