Thousands honor fallen firefighter

LOS ANGELES Thousands came from across the Southland to remember 35-year-old firefighter Brent Lovrien, who was killed in an explosion last week in Westchester.

With much of Los Angeles watching, the fire engine red casket was moved from the bed of his Engine 95 into the overflowing cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

"In that time, we've shared a lot of good times together, both at work and in the fire service, and on our days off," said Lovrien's friend Lou Aldana to the crowd as he fought back tears. Lovrien's mother embraced Lou in support as he called his fallen friend selfless, with a true sense of loyalty.

"As I sat with Brett's parents, I heard this phrase more than once: 'This is a celebration of our son,'" said Chaplain George Negrete of the L.A. City Fire Department.

Lovrien was the first Los Angeles firefighter to die in the line of duty since 2004.

A 10-year department veteran, he was known affectionately as "Lovey" around Fire Station 95. Before joining the LAFD, he spent three years as a federal firefighter on Terminal Island. He was divorced with no children.

A 48-year-old fire engineer who was also injured in the Westchester explosion, Anthony Guzman, was in attendance at the funeral.

"I'm here today because of Brent. He shouldered me from further harm, and I just want to let his parents know that he gave his life for me and gave me another chance at life," Guzman said.

The two-hour ceremony in front of 4,500 mourners was at times somber and at times full of laughter, all to remember a man Fire Chief Doug Barry calls the true definition of a firefighter.

"In an era where heroes are hard to find, Brent was a hero," Barry said. "At a time when bravery is in short supply, Brent demonstrated bravery. In a society where sacrifice is seldom practiced, Brent made that sacrifice."

The Los Angeles Firemen's Credit Union has established a memorial fund for Lovrien's family. Donations can be made at five Water and Power Community Credit Union locations throughout the Southland. Checks should be made payable to the Fire Family Foundation with "Brent Lovrien Fund" written in the memo section.


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