RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. (KABC) -- A Los Angeles County firefighter has died from critical injuries he suffered while battling a house fire in Rancho Palos Verdes, officials announced Thursday.
He has been identified as 47-year-old Jonathan Flagler, who had been a firefighter for 21 years - first serving 19 years with the city of Vernon and then moving to the county agency in October 2020. He is survived by his wife Jenny and two sons, ages 15 and 13.
"I join with the Flagler and LACoFD families in mourning the sudden passing of Fire Fighter Flagler," said Interim Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone. "It is always a tragedy to lose one of our own in the line of duty. Fire Fighter Flagler made the ultimate sacrifice; his bravery and courage will never be forgotten."
The fire was reported around 3 a.m. in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road, according to the L.A. County Fire Department. The residents of the home were already outside when crews arrived and moved in to put out the flames.
During a press conference, officials said the fallen firefighter was pulled out from inside the burning home.
"The smoke and the fire overcame my member. He put out a mayday for assistance from the other firefighters that were at scene and they were able to quickly locate him, rescue him and then start the life-saving procedures," Marrone said.
Flagler was then taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Hours later, a procession was held to escort his body to the coroner's office.
The union for county firefighters posted a tribute to Flagler, saying he was "known for his dedication and commitment to the profession."
"This incident is a sobering reminder of the real dangers our members face each and every day as we fight to keep our communities safe," Los Angeles County Firefighters IAFF Local 1014 wrote on Facebook.
"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," Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.