On Thursday morning, July 21, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District hosted a public ceremony at the Training and Education Division to mark the ten-year anniversary of the Line-of-Duty Deaths of Captain Matt Burton and Engineer Scott Desmond. The two firefighters lost their lives as they tried unsuccessfully to rescue a couple from their burning home in unincorporated San Pablo, July 21, 2007.
A seemingly routine call for help quickly turned disastrous with four lives lost, and left the 300-member Contra Costa County Fire Protection District reeling from the first on-duty deaths in its history. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Capt. Matt Burton, 34, of Concord, Fire Engineer Scott Desmond, 37, of Brentwood, and residents Delbert Moore, 67, and Gayle Moore, 62, died in the blaze.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the District produced a comprehensive report of the factors that lead to the deaths of Burton and Desmond. This report has guided the operations and training of the department, and led to many changes that have improved firefighter safety for current and future firefighters. Now ten years later, the District is drafting a second report reviewing each of the original 115 recommendations, providing an honest assessment of the progress and improvements the department has made, while at the same time identifying remaining items to be addressed.
Contra Costa County is a very culturally diverse community. Many cultures celebrate life and death in their respective ways.
In Polynesian, the Maori culture from New Zealand dances the HAKA. Originally a war dance calling on the spirit of ancestors for strength, the HAKA has evolved into a dance that promotes morale in a community. It is performed at weddings, graduations and celebrations of all occasions.
During the ceremony firefighters honored their family members with the Contra Costa County Fire HAKA.
To see video of the dance, visit the ConFire Facebook page by clicking, here.