A massive funeral procession has taken place to honor the bravery and courage shown by a firefighter who lost his life in the Ventura County wildfires.
Cory Iverson was killed when battling the blaze last Thursday. He leaves behind his pregnant wife Ashley and a two-year-old daughter. Thousands lined the streets as the procession traveled south on the 101 Freeway through Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties, arriving at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego County at 2.15pm, as reported by Daily Mail.
Santa Paula Police with Firefighters salute and people cry as motorcade passes on the 126 freeway carrying the body of fallen Cal Fire Engineer Cory Iverson who tragically died this morning fighting the #ThomasFire in the hills of Fillmore, CA pic.twitter.com/q9tFeq2cZT
— Al Seib (@AlSeibPhoto) December 15, 2017
A GoFundMe account has been set up “For Ashley Iverson and her girls,” and had raised more than $380,000 as of Sunday evening.
‘This fund is created to help with her daughters and the expenses that come with raising little ones, meals, mortgage payments, bills etc,’ Cecily Bauchmann, a close family friend explained on the page.
“This is still so very new but please contribute as you feel led. Their oldest is almost 3 and they will be due in May with their newest baby. I will update here as needed. Thank you all for blessing the Iverson family.”
Cal Fire San Diego Chief Tony Mecham stated at a media briefing last week that “this incident has shaken our organization to the core.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown also issued a statement on Iverson’s death last week, saying “his bravery and years of committed service to the people of California will never be forgotten,” as reported by the LA Times.
It is still unclear as to how exactly Iverson died.
Cal Fire posted on December 14, stating:
“We are deeply saddened to have to notify you of a fatality involving one of our firefighters. Today, Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson has succumbed to fatal injuries while engaged in fire suppression efforts on the Thomas Fire. We ask that everyone take a minute to keep the entire Iverson family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
An accident review team is reported to be looking into his death.
“Until this review is complete, there is nothing more that I can share. What I can say is ‘thank you’ for the outpouring of support for Cory’s family and the Cal Fire family,” Cal Fire Director Chief Ken Pimlott told the media on Thursday afternoon, as reported by the San Diego Tribune.
“Cory and Ashley are expecting a second daughter this spring. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cory’s family and all of his friends and co-workers throughout the department and the fire service.”
The procession was a beautiful picture of honor, respect and appreciation for Cory and a salute to the great sacrifice he made in order to protect his community.
.@CAL_FIRE Engineer Cory Iverson was taken back to San Diego today. We are humbled by the outpouring of support along the route from the public and from our public safety partners. Thanks to @CHP_HQ for helping us in getting Cory home. pic.twitter.com/1lahxOV7AI
— Chief Ken Pimlott (@CALFIRE_CHIEF) December 18, 2017
The fires have continued to burn throughout the region, with some 1,000 homes having been burnt down, and another 18,000 still under threat. Evacuation orders are still in place, though some have been lifted as a result of the brilliant work of these brave firefighters:
Many celebrity mansions in the area north of Montecito still remain under threat. “Still praying for our little town,” Oprah Winfrey tweeted. Her home is currently under threat from the raging inferno.
The manpower and cost associated with battling this massive wildfire is nothing short of astronomical. Approximately 8,300 firefighters have been pulled in from nearly a dozen states. They have been assisted by 78 bulldozers and 29 helicopters. The cost so far is estimated at $117 million.
5 county procession is underway for San Diego firefighter Cory Iverson who died battling the Thomas Fire. Fire engines and firefighters waiting for his arrival at El Camino Memorial Park. @fox5sandiego pic.twitter.com/mNjhpDuHAp
— Felicia Martinez (@FeliciaNews) December 17, 2017
Keep the Iverson family in your prayers as they come to terms with this devastating loss.