Fallen firefighters honored

Los Angeles County officials on Monday dedicated a section of the Angeles Forest Highway in honor of two firefighters who died last year while battling the Station fire.

The 25-mile stretch of mountainous roadway, which cuts through the Angeles National Forest south of Sierra Highway near Acton before connecting to Angeles Crest Highway, is now known as the Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ted Hall and Engineer Arnie Quinones Memorial Highway.

The two veteran Los Angeles County firefighters were protecting an evacuation route for members of the remote Fire Camp 16 on Aug. 30, 2009, when their truck was overcome by the advancing fire, veered off a dirt roadway near Mt. Gleason and plunged hundreds of feet into a canyon.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and county Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman attended a morning ceremony at Fire Station 129 in Lancaster before dedicating memorial signs a quarter-mile south of Sierra Highway.

"These two men have exemplified the courage, the valor, the integrity that the men and women of the Los Angeles County Fire Department have in their creed of saving life and property," Antonovich said. "Naming the highway really doesn't make up for the loss that the families have suffered of these two brave men, but it will remain [to influence] future policy- and decision-makers."

Hall, who was 47, joined the department in 1981 as a student worker and was survived by his wife and two adult sons.

Quinones, who was 35, became a firefighter in 1998 and worked from 2003 to 2005 in La Cañada Flintridge before transferring to the Angeles Forest Highway-adjacent Fire Camp 16, which housed dozens of county jail inmates assigned to firefighting details. His wife Loressa was expecting their first child at the time.

"My niece lost her father that day, but the one thing I can always remember is that he was the greatest hero, the greatest man I ever knew," Ozzie Quinones Jr., an Antelope Valley resident, said of his brother.

The efforts of Hall and Quinones to protect and help evacuate the fire camp helped save the lives of firefighters and some 80 inmates stationed there, said L.A. County Fire Inspector Frederic Stowers.

"They were working so hard to save lives that they lost their own," Stowers said.

The largest blaze in Los Angeles County history, the Station fire started on Aug. 26, 2009, about two miles north of La Cañada along Angeles Crest Highway.

The Station fire raged for nearly two months — charring 89 homes and some 160,000 acres — before it was fully contained.

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