Firefighters remembered on interchange
By: Samantha Macconnell
PALMDALE – Three years after the largest wildfire in Los Angeles history claimed the lives of Fire Capt. Ted Hall and Firefighter Spc. Arnie Quinones, their heroic actions will forever be remembered.
Through the efforts of Los Angeles County officials, the California State Legislature designated the Antelope Valley Freeway interchange at Angeles Forest Highway the “Los Angeles County Fire Captain Ted Hall and Engineer Arnie Quinones Memorial Interchange.”
“It was important that their sacrifice is not forgotten. Having the signs on the freeway reminds people that two first responders sacrificed their lives for the community,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who initiated the efforts of the interchange designation.
“They were well-loved and respected by their family and friends, and colleagues at the Fire Department, so these are two special people who are being recognized today for the service that they gave.”
A replica of the sign that will be affixed at the northbound and southbound entrances to the interchange was unveiled at a dedication ceremony Wednesday at Los Angeles County Fire Department Fire Station 129 to commemorate the historic recognition of Hall and Quinones, who gave their lives fighting the Station fire in 2009.
The Station fire broke out on Angeles Crest Highway above La Canada-Flintridge in August 2009. On Aug. 30, the fourth day of the fire, Quinones, a 34-year-old Palmdale resident, and Hall, who lived in San Bernardino County, were killed in the line of duty when their emergency response vehicle went over the side of Mount Gleason Road and fell 800 feet into a steep canyon.
The fire burned for 52 days and blackened more than 160,000 acres in and around the Angeles National Forest.
In addition to family and friends, including Hall’s wife Kathy, Quinones’ wife Lori and their nearly 3-year-old daughter Sophia, fire and law enforcement personnel, and representatives of Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and Caltrans gathered at the ceremony.
Chaplain Richard Hall delivered the invocation, and Engineer Terry Burnley and the County of Los Angeles Fire Department Honor Guard delivered a Presentation of Colors and National Anthem.
Assemblyman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, said it is typical for signs to be erected in honor of public safety heroes who were killed in the line of duty. With these signs, they will never be forgotten, he said.
“That is everyone’s job in this community, to never forget what Ted and Arnie meant to our community and what they meant to our safety, and to always remember that they’re in our hearts,” Knight said.
Firefighter Spc. Quinones was an 11-year member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He joined the department’s call firefighter program in 1998 and was assigned to Fire Station 84 in Battalion 11.
He was accepted into the department’s fire academy in November 2000 and graduated the following year. He joined the crew at Fire Station 24 in Palmdale, and also served in Covina and La Canada-Flintridge.
Quinones was promoted to the rank of firefighter specialist in December 2005 and joined the crew at Camp 16, which was his last assignment. Quinones served as foreman of one of the inmate brush crews.
Hall was a 28-year member of the Fire Department. He joined in 1981 as a student worker and graduated from the department’s fire academy in 1983 as a member of the 64th Recruit Class. Hall served at fire stations in Lakewood, Whittier and La Puente until 1987, and became part of the command and control team of fire dispatchers.
Hall was promoted to the rank of firefighter specialist in 1988, and spent the next 12 years at multiple fire stations, and at Camp 2 in La Canada-Flintridge and at Camp 11 in Acton.
He was promoted to fire captain in January 2001 and served at various fire stations. His final assignment, at Camp 16 in Palmdale, was spent as the superintendent of the inmate brush fire camp.
Randall Hall, son of Fire Capt. Ted Hall, gave thanks for the support his family and the Quinones family has received over the last few years.
“It’s been amazing. The honor that you’ve shown my father and how you’ve respected his legacy, and Arnie’s as well, will always stay with me, and I’m sure that me and my family will always be eternally grateful,” Randall Hall said.
Rex Furman, Arnie Quinones’ father-in-law, read some words his daughter Lori wanted to share.
“The naming of this highway interchange demonstrates to our daughter, Sophia, that her father and Capt. Hall’s sacrifice is not forgotten,” Furman read.
“On Aug. 30, 2009, Ted and Arnie’s firefighting tactics at Camp 16 lessened the impact of the burn, created clean air space for the crews to retreat, thereby saving the lives of the 72 people who were on Mount Gleason.
“Arnie’s bravery and sacrifice is evidence that he lived his life with great courage, compassion and honor. We miss him deeply, and always will.”