Low Visibility Leads to Apparatus Crash: Remembering the Station Fire Victims

Low Visibility Leads to Apparatus Crash: Remembering Ted Hall & Arnie Quinones who died while working the Station Fire

Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones (left) and Capt. Tedmund “Ted” Hall died when their truck plunged over the side of a cliff on the Station Fire.

The Station Fire burned from Aug. 26 until Oct. 16, ultimately scorched 160,577 acres north of Los Angeles.

On Aug. 30, 2009, two Los Angeles County firefighters working the Station Fire were killed when their fire truck plunged off a cliff as they attempted to escape flames in heavy smoke conditions.

Capt. Tedmund “Ted” Hall, 47, and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 35, worked at the remote prison Camp 16, supervising inmates trained in wilderness protection. They had been searching for a safe escape zone to help evacuate the inmate crews, which were being forced to leave as the fire threatened the camp. According to reports, Hall and Quinones were repositioning their truck on a small path near the camp when the truck plunged approximately 800 feet over the side of the road into a canyon near Mt. Gleason, just south of Acton. It’s believed the truck may have been overrun by fire prior to the accident.

The Station Fire was one of many fires that tore through California during the very active 2009 wildfire season. The fire, which burned from Aug. 26 until Oct. 16, ultimately scorched 160,577 acres north of Los Angeles, making it the 10th largest wildfire in modern California history and the largest wildfire in the modern history of Los Angeles County.

The fire started in the Angeles National Forest near the U.S. Forest Service ranger station on the Angeles Crest Highway (State Highway 2). On Sept. 3, officials announced that the Station Fire was caused by arson, and that a homicide investigation had been initiated.

Hall & Quinones
Captain Hall, of San Bernardino County, was a 26-year veteran of the force. Hall joined the LACoFD on April 22, 1981, as a student worker. In 1983, he was accepted into the fire academy from which he graduated on Sept. 10, 1983, as a member of the 65th recruit class. Upon graduation, he joined the crew at Fire Station 122, serving the City of Lakewood.

In March of 1984, he transferred to Station 28 in Whittier. In October 1985, he joined the crew of Station 43 in La Puente. In December 1987, he joined the department’s Command and Control Team of fire dispatchers. In November 1988, he was promoted to the rank of firefighter specialist.

Hall served as an Engineer for 12 years at various locations, including fire stations 149, 165, 90, Camp 2 and Camp 11. In January 2001, he was promoted to fire captain and served at fire stations 73, 11 and 33. His last assignment was Camp 16 in the Palmdale region, where he was assigned in May 2001.

Quinones joined the LACoFD on Aug. 6, 1998, as a member of the department’s call firefighter program. He was assigned to Station 84 in Quartz Hill, where he remained until November 2000, when he was accepted into the fire academy as a member of the 104th recruit class. Upon graduating in February 2001, he was assigned to Fire Station 24 in Palmdale.

In August of 2001, he transferred to Station 153 in Covina. In March 2002, he returned to Station 24 where he served until November 2003, when he transferred to Station 82 in La Canada Flintridge. In December 2005, he was promoted to the rank of firefighter specialist, at which time he joined the crew at Camp 16—his last assignment.

On Sept. 12, hundreds of firefighters came together at Dodger Stadium to honor Hall and Quinones.

According to the LACoFD website, on Aug. 3, 2010, County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced that he was calling for the Angeles Forest Highway to be memorialized in honor of Hall and Quinones.

Copyright © Elsevier Inc., a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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