Last Alarm: 8/31/2017
Mary Kay Blaul was born Mary Kay Moreau on September 28, 1958 at Fort MacArthur US Army Hospital in San Pedro California. She grew up in Seal Beach and attended Huntington Beach High School where she was a cheerleader and graduated in 1976.
After working various jobs including the US Post Office and as a grocery checker she decided to become a firefighter and was hired by the Orange County Fire Department graduating from OCFD Career Academy #7 in November 1985 at the age of 27.
She attended paramedic training in 1988 and worked continuously as a Firefighter/Paramedic for 27 years until her retirement in October 2012. During her career she was assigned to numerous Engine and Paramedic Units including E2, E46, M4, E22, M26, E60, M5, E62, E36, and E13. During her career she was part of the response to many major incidents including the Laguna and Malibu Fires. She was a compassionate and caring Paramedic who loved to take care of people and help them in their time of need.
During the fall of 2015 she was informed that her job caused cancer had worsened and taken a fatal form. From among several treatment options, she chose to have a bone marrow transplant. She was admitted to USC Norris Cancer Center on May 26 and received her bone marrow transplant on June 2, 2016. In and out of the hospital, she battled the worsening complications of the transplant courageously for nearly two years until she was informed there were no more treatment options available to her. Preferring to spend her last days in her home, on August 24, 2017 she was escorted home and put into bed for the last time by OCFA Seal Beach Engine 44, Battalion 8 and Division 1. Seven days later at 0735 on August 31st 2017, in the Seal Beach home where she grew up and surrounded by family, at the age of 57 she passed quietly from this earth.
She is survived by her children Jeremy Ellison, Jeff Ellison, Jacquelyn Fields, her step children Dan Blaul and Sarah Thomas, her adored grandchildren Liam and Brigid Thomas, Justin Ellison, Max and Brynn Blaul, Jossyln and Russell Fields, her sisters Pam and Susie, her brother Jim and her husband Ron.
She is missed terribly and remembered with love.
Last Alarm: 11/30/2016
Fire Fighter Ron L. Castro was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, and graduated from Santa Ana Valley High School in 1967. After high school Ron was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a Special Forces member in the Vietnam War. In 1972 he got hired as a firefighter for the Santa Ana Fire Department serving the City of Santa Ana for 40 years. In 2012 the Santa Ana Fire Department was absorbed by Orange County Fire Authority where Ron continued to serve as a firefighter for the next 4 1/2 years until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2016. Ron battled the disease for 8-months until he succumbed to it on 11/30/2016. He is survived by his parents, sister, wife Michelle, son Brandon, daughters Jennifer and Madison.
Shared from FB post, December 1, 2016
Last Alarm: 1/20/2014
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA Fighting fire was Greg Hennessey’s passion.
He was a volunteer firefighter in New York, but tried to leave the profession when his wife told him she was scared. He began working at JC Penney after the family moved to California.
It didn’t take long, however, before Hennessey realized what his calling was.
“He just wasn’t happy,” his wife, Deanna Hennessey, said Monday. “He got involved again, and within a year he was a firefighter again.”
For the next 24 years, he worked for the Orange County Fire Authority until his career, and life, suddenly ended Monday morning.
Hennessey was working a shift at Orange County Firefighters Association station 45, 30131 Aventura, when he was found unconscious by his crew at 9:40 a.m., Capt. Steve Concialdi said. Members of the crew performed CPR and then transported him to Mission Hospital.
He was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. He was 49.
“Today we lost a valuable family member,” Fire Chief Keith Richter said. “Greg was a respected engineer and indispensable mentor to the young lives that he helped.”
Ten firefighters were at the station at the time.
Hennessey was an apparatus engineer, driving the fire truck in Rancho Santa Margarita. He also worked as an advisor for fire explorers in Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo, mentoring teenagers who were thinking about a career as a firefighter, Orange County Firefighters Association spokeswoman Lynette Round said.
“He wasn’t one to garner a lot of attention, he was really behind the scenes,” she said.
He worked as a mentor for aspiring firefighters for the last eight years, Concialdi said, and also taught in the apparatus engineer academy.
“That was a passion of his,” he said. “He was committed to teaching new firefighters.”
Hennessey began his career with Orange County Firefighters Association in 1990, where he worked as a firefighter for 11 years.
In 2001, he was promoted to engineer.
“He was probably one of the most conscientious firefighters I’ve ever met, very, very excellent and competent at his job, well-liked by the firefighters, really a leader among firefighters in the Orange County Firefighters Association,” said Orange County Firefighters Association Division Chief Greg McKeown, who attended the fire academy in Rancho Santa Margarita with Hennessey in 1990.
“It’s definitely a blow to all of us because it was very unexpected,” he said.
At his Trabuco Canyon home, Hennessey is remembered as a caring father and a neighbor.
Donna Dipietrantonio, who lives across from the Hennesseys on High Country Drive, said the family supported her when she lost her husband.
“(Greg Hennessey) always kept an eye when I wasn’t home,” Dipietrantonio said. “He and his family invited me to their Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthday parties, whenever there were celebratory occasions. He was a really good friend, always willing to help me.”
Deanna Hennessey said her husband always wished to be remembered as a “simple man,” who treasured basic things in life and lived for his family.
“I’m just numb right now,” she said. “It’s hard.”
Greg Hennessey is survived by his wife and sons Ryan, 22, and Brandon, 19, according to the statement.
Hennessey, as well as his two sons, were Eagle Scouts, Concialdi said.
“We are assisting the Hennessey family during this difficult time, and appreciate the support from those around us,” Richter said in the statement.
Officials said information about funeral services will be announced when they become available.
Steen F. Jenson
Last Alarm: 6/12/2012
Steen F. Jenson
Brother Jensen began his career in with the Orange County Fire Department in 1981 and joined the Laguna Beach Fire Department as a fulltime career firefighter in 1983. He became a paramedic in 1989 and promoted to captain in 2005. Steen's life outside the fire department was his three beautiful daughters; Shelby, Emily and Anita. After being diagnosed with cancer Steen took up the guitar and taught himself to play and collected over 20 guitars during his illness. Brother Jensen was mentor to many on members of the LBFD and will be greatly missed. Last Alarm: 6/12/2012
Last Alarm: 9/16/2010
Jimmy "O" (Owen)
The sudden death of a veteran firefighter and paramedic after a routine training exercise Thursday shocked his colleagues at the Orange County Fire Authority, who remembered the Irvine resident as man driven by an unfailing work ethic and a devotion to his community. James M. Owen, 56, was taking a break from search and rescue drills at Orange County Firefighters Association headquarters in Irvine just before 11:30 a.m., when the 30-year veteran suddenly collapsed in full cardiac arrest.
Despite the attempted life-saving efforts of his fellow firefighters and paramedics, Owens was pronounced dead an hour later at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, leaving his colleagues to mourn a man they described as an iconic figure known for hard work and generosity.
"He was a top-notch firefighter," Orange County Firefighters Association Capt. Greg McKeown said. "To lose him like this is a tragedy."
Owen may have grown up in Buena Park, but friends say it was Irvine that he took as both his career-long assignment and his adopted home, ties that led his fellow firefighters to jokingly refer to Owen as "the mayor."
Beginning as a firefighter and later as a medic and hazardous-materials worker, Owen would get involved in every aspect of an emergency situation. Orange County Firefighters Association Division Chief Mike Boyle, who served as Owen's captain for many years, recalled a 2002 fire in a UC Irvine science building, where Owen was instrumental in getting the blaze under control, and then spent the next few days helping to clean up chemicals.
As a department veteran, Owen took many younger firefighters under his wing, helping them with the transition from the academy to on-the-ground reality.
"Jim taught the school of common sense," Boyle said. "He was the first one to help out a new person with the way do things."
Owen was an assertive firefighter with an outgoing and quirky personality, the kind of guy who would go to the grocery store and strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, Boyle said.
Owen was devoted not only to the job and the community, but also his co-workers. Orange County Firefighters Association Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion, who worked as Owen's medic partner for several years, said Owen was known to carry a wad of $100 bills, which he would give or loan to those who needed a hand.
"He was always the first to sign up for the tough assignments," Concepcion said. "But as aggressive as he was at fighting fires, he was just as compassionate with his patients. He had a knack for it, almost as if he was born to be a firefighter."
An upfront man who was unafraid to voice his opinions, Owen was also never one to carry a grudge.
In his spare time, Owen loved to spend time with his wife Sharon and his sons Jim Jr., Daniel and Kevin, whom he would take on trips in their motorhome.
Owen was also an avid fisherman who would occasionally help out by working as a deckhand and boat operator at the Dana Point harbor, and had expressed interest in obtaining a mariner license during his retirement, Boyle said.
Owen's death reverberated to the larger Irvine community, with city leaders offering their support to Orange County Firefighters Association and the Owen family.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to Jim Owen's family, as well as our partners at the Orange County Fire Authority," Irvine Police Chief Dave Maggard said. "Jim was an important part of our community, and he served our city for many years with professionalism, compassion and care."
Hardest hit were Owen's colleagues, who are still coming to grips with his sudden death.
"They can't believe it, that is what everyone is saying," Boyle said. "He never quit; he never gave up. I think he enjoyed making a difference."
Last Alarm: 6/24/2006
Thor Swanson worked for the Orange County Fire Department since before there was an Orange County Fire Department. Starting with the California Department of Forestry, Thor became a fire fighter, a paramedic, and engineer, then a captain and along the way Orange Country formed a department. Thor trained and mentored a generation of fire fighters, paramedics, engineers, and captains. (Submitted by the Swanson Family for the 2007 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial) Last Alarm: 06/24/06
Last Alarm: 4/3/2004
Emmett’s was able to be in multiple places at one time, lending a hand to anyone who needed it. Emmett’s joy in assisting others made this career perfect for him. He arrived early and left late. He eagerly put his crew’s safety gear on the unit and removed it each morning prior to shift change. All day long he looked for things others needed, from training to cooking to simple conversation. Life around Emmett was a joy and the sound of his laughter will echo in his station for years to come. Emmett was called to his Heavenly Home on Saturday morning, April 3, 2004, at the young age of 48. (Submitted by the Wells Family for the 2004 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial)
Last Alarm: 10/22/2002
"To have a profound impact on one life is remarkable; to touch thousands like Doug Wetmore did is a miracle." these words were spoken by a friend and brother fire fighter at Doug's service. A fire fighter for 33 years, Doug leaves a legacy of an untold number of lives touched by his leadership. Doug was a wise mentor, a great listener, encourager, and one who loved to learn. He was a very special man - dedicating himself to helping others. (Submitted by the Wetmore Family for the 2005 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial) Last Alarm: 10/22/2002
David J. Grubb
Last Alarm: 04/21/1999
Thomas O. Wall
Last Alarm: 10/5/1998
Allen C. Donelan
Last Alarm: 9/13/1998
Allen C. Donelan
Allen was a dedicated and enthusiastic firefighter. He loved going to work. One of the ways he shared his love of the fire service was through his work as the Explorer Post Advisor at his station.
Outside of work‚ Allen continued to be active. He herded cattle‚ hunted‚ played roller hockey‚ and was an avid Disney collector. He sought out new adventures constantly.
Allen’s animated and lighthearted spirit infected those around him with the energy‚ persistence‚ and joy of life that was within him.
Last Alarm: 10/4/1986
Last Alarm: 2/24/1983