Battalion Chief Terry W. Smerdel, age 59, of the San Francisco Fire Department, died of a heart attack within several hours of returning from a fire alarm call on September 10, 2017.
Contract Firefighter Garrett Angel “Taco” Paiz, age 38, of CAL-Fire, died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident on October 16, 2017, while driving an empty water tender to assist on the Nuns Wildfire.
Inmate Firefighter Matthew James Beck, age 26, of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, died on May 24, 2017, from injuries sustained while assisting with wildfire containment.
Captain Randy R. Treat, age 71, of the Kingston Rural Volunteer Fire Department, died on August 26, 2017, after falling ill while responding to an emergency call.
Fire Chief Scotty Douglas “Doug” Deckard, age 51, of the Cove Creek-Pearson Fire Department, was died on April 30, 2017, after being struck on the highway.
Captain Crystal Dawn Rezzonico, age 56, of the Phoenix Fire Department, died on February 18, 2017, after suffering critical injuries when the apparatus she was riding in was struck while responding to a structure fire on August 10, 2009.
Lieutenant Christopher Lane Foster, age 54, of the Demopolis Fire & Rescue Department, died of a heart attack on March 23, 2017, after responding to an accident.
William Ross “Iron Bill” Dowling was born to Rick and Mary Dowling in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1973. He had three siblings, Joseph, John, and Mary. From the time he was born, he fought to find his place in this world. His younger years were a struggle, but he always had the support of his family to guide him in the right direction.
Searching for his purpose, he met the woman who would change his life forever. On September 25, 1993, while home on boot leave from his new-found career in the United States Marine Corps, he married his beautiful bride, Jacki. The Dowling family established their roots, and 3 amazing children followed—two boys and one girl. Forrest, Faith, and Foster were his pride and joy.
After serving four years in the Marine Corps, he began to search for a career that fulfilled his desire to serve others. He placed an article from the Houston Fire Department in his Bible and prayed he would get the job. In October 2000, his prayers were answered, and he graduated from the Houston Fire Academy. Thirteen years later, and never missing a promotion, he was made captain. He absolutely loved his job as a firefighter, almost as much as he loved being a devoted husband and father.
His time here on this earth was cut short, but he lost his life doing what he loved, fighting fires. He left behind many friends and loved ones who adored him and miss him dearly.
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful…enter into the joy of your master.
Chief Robert C. Spinner, age 50, of the Lynden Fire Department, suffered a heart attack and died while participating in required physical training while on duty on July 14, 2017.
Fire Chief Tracy L. Sanders, age 44, of the Mount Olive Volunteer Fire Department, died on January 13, 2017, from injuries sustained when the department vehicle she was driving was involved in an accident.