L.A. County fire captain dies of cardiac arrest while on duty at fire station

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Steve McCann
Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Steve McCann, 47, died Wednesday night while working at Fire Station 166 in El Monte, officials said.
(IAFF Local 1014)

A 17-year-veteran of the Los Angeles County Fire Department died after suffering a medical emergency while on duty this week, officials said Thursday.

Firefighter Steve McCann, 47, died about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday while working at Fire Station 166 in El Monte, officials said. Fox 11 reported that McCann died from cardiac arrest.

“We are grieving the loss of our brother, Steve McCann, who passed away unexpectedly while on the job last night,” IAFF Local 1014 President Dave Gillotte said in a statement. “We are grateful for the selfless sacrifice of our members day in and day out, even as they mourn the loss of another brother firefighter.”


On Wednesday, McCann did not appear during regular rounds at the station. Firefighters later found him unresponsive and administered emergency medical aid. He was taken to Arcadia Methodist Hospital where he was pronounced dead, Gillotte said.

“It’s almost surreal,” Gillotte said in a telephone interview. “There’s almost nobody in that region, in his battalion, that didn’t know the type of person Steve was. He was a strong union supporter, extremely dedicated and committed individual.”

McCann mentored new firefighters who were adjusting to the high-intensity job.

“That’s so critical, because he not only taught them how to be good firefighters, but also what it means to be a good human being,” Gillotte said. “That’s Steve.”

McCann’s death marks the third death of a firefighter while on the job in the last eight months, according to the firefighters union. Gillotte recently attended services for Stockton Fire Capt. Vidal “Max” Fortuna, who was shot and killed while on duty last month. Firefighters are also still reeling from the on-duty death of Los Angeles County firefighter Jonathan Flagler who died while putting out an attic fire in Rancho Palos Verdes.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and friends today,” the union said in the statement. The union said its management and support groups were activated to help its team and McCann’s family. He is survived by his wife and children.


L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said flags will be flown at half-staff at all county buildings.

“I am saddened by the untimely passing of Capt. Steven McCann,” Solis said in a statement. “As a resident of this community, I am truly grateful for his service, bravery and commitment to keeping our families safe. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, colleagues, and everyone else who was honored to know him. May his soul rest in peace.”

The Los Angeles County Fire Department did not immediately respond to requests for more information about McCann.