Tuesday morning a sad procession wound through town ending at Saint Catherine Church in Redondo Beach to honor Carlos Lopez, a Hermosa Beach firefighter and paramedic who died last Tuesday evening.
“Today we laid to rest Carlos Lopez, who served from 2004 to 2013 and just last year was honored for his off duty efforts of saving the life of a stabbing victim,” Hermosa Beach Fire Chief David Lantzer said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “Carlos was a valuable member of our team and will definitely be missed.”
Lantzer publicly recognized many agencies and people throughout the area who have been assisting the HBFD in the past week.
“I want to start off with the Redondo Beach Fire Department,” Lantzer said. “The Redondo fire units that were at the scene at Carlos’s house remained there with us in support of their fellow firefighters and out of respect for Carlos and remained there with us until we departed.”
He added that the Manhattan Beach Fire Department, El Segundo Fire Department and Redondo Beach Fire Departments have assisted in responding to calls throughout the week while Hermosa Beach personnel received grief and crisis counseling to help deal with the loss.
“After being at Carlos’s house for several hours, we returned to the station to the smell of a wonderful meal,” Lantzer said “An off duty Redondo Beach captain not only made dinner for us, he made a delicious dinner. We were all still in shock and were able to sit down and enjoy each other’s company and enjoy a good dinner. That was amazing.”
Lopez, 36 had been with the HBFD nine years and previously served as an Auxiliary Firefighter in Inglewood and as a reserve firefighter in Manhattan Beach. He was scheduled to participate in this past weekend’s Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge as the only Hermosa Beach competitor. Instead of cancelling the event, the HBFD and Chamber of Commerce dedicated the weekend’s events in his memory. On Friday they hosted a “passing of the boot,” at Hennessy’s Tavern with all proceeds benefiting Lopez’s family. They also had a stool reserved at the bar with Carlos’ gear to honor his memory.
“The city staff has been tremendously supportive,” Lantzer said. “You have a staff here that really cares about each other, and it shows. Thank you to all city staff and fellow department heads, your condolences are greatly appreciated.”
Tuesday’s memorial included an honor guard from Torrance. The South Bay Police and Fire Memorial foundation also gave Lopez’s family $10,000.
“I have to thank the firefighters, the men and women of the Hermosa Beach Fire Department for coming together the way they have,” said Lantzer. “They are a tremendous group and I’ve earned a whole new respect for them and appreciate them even more.”
“It’s always hard to see a young person fall with so much life left unlived,” said Councilmember Jeff Duclos. “It’s especially hard today it seems to me not only for Carlos’ family, but for the firefighter brothers with whom he served who feel the loss in a much deeper way than we can imagine… When a brother dies and their training or commitment and passion are not enough to save them, even a hero can feel helpless.” ER