Submitted by his father
CDF Firefighter II Chris Kanton died in the line of duty on Saturday‚ August 6‚ 2005‚ in Riverside County‚ CA. He was responding to a call for assistance when his engine was involved in a tragic accident. Chris was exactly where he wanted to be: in a fire engine‚ with his colleagues‚ going to help people who needed him. While in high school‚ Chris started as a paid call firefighter at Station 33 at Heritage Ranch in Paso Robles. After graduating from high school in 2000‚ Chris attended and graduated from the Allan Hancock Fire Academy in Santa Maria and subsequently completed three years as a seasonal firefighter in Riverside County. He completed HAZMAT training and served on the HAZMAT team at station 81 near Palm Springs and other locations as a full-time firefighter. Recently‚ Chris was transferred to Station 58 in Moreno Valley‚ where he served as a Firefighter II. Chris’ love and passion for firefighting is exemplified by the numerous certifications he achieved throughout his career.
Chris had an interest in photography and served as the yearbook photographer and editor in high school. His greatest love was extreme sports. Chris was an avid wakeboard‚ snowboard and motorcycle enthusiast. When he was not on duty with CDF‚ he worked for the Ski Patrol at Big Bear and rode his dirt bikes in the summer. Chris learned to play hockey (he was a goalie) at an early age and played in several leagues‚ including the high school league in Paso Robles. For the past four years he played hockey in the Firefighter Olympics for both L.A. and Riverside Counties.
Chris was a giving person. A fellow firefighter recalls the time he was going off duty and needed a civilian shirt: ‘Chris had a shirt in his truck and offered it to me‚ but it was too small. Chris took off the shirt he was wearing‚ a size larger‚ and handed it to me. He literally gave me the shirt off his back.’ Helping others‚ regardless of their need‚ was an integral part of his personality. All who knew Chris learned many lessons from his life. By taking these lessons to heart‚ Chris will live forever within us‚ and his life will continue to have meaning to each of us.
He had another side too. He was fun to be with and could bring a smile to your face‚ if not outright laughter‚ in even the most difficult of times. Words cannot express the joy that Chris brought to all of those that he touched. Chris was a loving son‚ husband‚ and brother. He was our friend. We will miss him.
Chris is a recipient of the Medal of Valor.