Newport Beach dedicates headquarters to fallen lifeguard

Monday, March 9, 2015
Newport Beach dedicates headquarters to fallen lifeguard
The City of Newport Beach dedicated their newly renovated lifeguard headquarters to a veteran lifeguard who drowned in the line of duty.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Just months after veteran lifeguard Ben Carlson lost his life trying to rescue a swimmer in distress, the City of Newport Beach honored his legacy.

During a dedication ceremony Sunday, city officials unveiled a plaque with Carlson's picture proudly displayed along with a description of his heroism on the newly renovated lifeguard headquarters. The building now bears his name.

"He was one of the best. He did it. He made it," Newport Beach Fire Chief Scott Poster said.

In July, Carlson drowned in the line of duty. The 32-year-old had been a lifeguard for 15 years. He was a surfer and a strong swimmer, but the massive waves overwhelmed him that day.

He was the first Newport Beach lifeguard to die on duty.

The week after his death about 1,000 people attended a memorial at the beach. Many paddled out into the waters in a massive show of support.

The city council debated how to honor Carlson in the most meaningful way.

"It should be something lasting and permanent. It should have a significant presence. It should be symbolic and it should be a reminder of ocean safety," Newport Beach Mayor Edward Selich said.

Father Chris Carlson says he's proud of his son and hopes the his death reminds people to listen to their lifeguards.

"As a result of this, people will look at lifeguards a little bit differently. When they say, 'Hey time to get out of the water,' it's not because they're killing fun, it's because they're really trying to keep people safe," Chris Carlson said.