Monday, August 31, 2009

CDCR Secretary Issues Statement About Two Los Angeles Fire Department Firefighters Who Died in the Line of Duty

Mount Gleason Conservation Camp Destroyed by the Station Fire

SACRAMENTO — Two County of Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters, Fire Captain Tedmund “Ted” Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, assigned to the Mount Gleason Conservation Camp #16 located near Palmdale in Los Angeles County, tragically lost their lives on August 30, 2009. Moreover, the camp, one of the first of five Los Angeles County Fire Department wild land fire camps, was destroyed by the Station Fire. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary Matthew Cate issued the following statement:

“Fire Captain Ted Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones worked hand in hand with CDCR staff at Mount Gleason Conservation Camp to provide supervision and training to the inmates assigned there. They are to be credited with helping to save the lives of three CDCR employees and 55 inmates. When fire threatened to engulf the Mount Gleason Conservation Camp and all who still remained there, Captain Hall, Firefighter Specialist Quinones and other Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel coolly provided direction and worked with CDCR staff to ensure everyone’s safety. Tragically, they perished in the fire. If it wasn’t for their selfless actions, the loss of life could have been greater. On behalf of everyone at CDCR we are humbled and honored by their sacrifice.”

All the inmates who had been assigned to the Mount Gleason Conservation Camp are either still battling wildfires around the state or were relocated to the Francisquito Conservation Camp near Saugus, also in Los Angeles County. As of August 31, there are 2,245 adult inmates and 53 Division of Juvenile Justice youth deployed to fires statewide, including Los Angeles, Riverside, and 15 other counties. They are supervised by 187 correctional officers and supervisors.

The Mount Gleason Conservation Camp opened in 1979. Located deep in the Angeles National Forest at an abandoned missile base that at one time helped protect the Los Angeles basin from nuclear threat, the camp served to help protect Californians from wild fires. The camp was located atop a mountain ridge at a 5,500 foot elevation, housed 105 inmate firefighters, and provided six fire crews in a joint partnership between CDCR and the County of Los Angeles Fire Department.