SAN DIEGO – A state firefighter who died in the battle with the largest wildfire recorded in California’s modern history was remembered Saturday as a devoted family man who will not hesitate to do his work, regardless of the danger.
“When Cory decided that he wanted something, he got it. When there is a job to be done, he did it, and 10 more,” Ashley Iverson told mourners at Rock Church in San Diego.
Gov. Jerry Brown joined family, friends and colleagues in honor of Cory Iverson. A container with Iverson’s ashes was on the with flowers decorated speakers’ platform and Iverson’s smudged fireman and the weapon was shown during the service. A bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”
The 32-year-old Cal Fire engineer died of burns and smoke inhalation on Dec. 14 while the approach of the Thomas Fire that burned more than 700 homes in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Details of what led to his death not released yet.
Iverson, an Escondido resident, a San Diego-based strike team, left a 2-year-old daughter, Evie, and his wife Ashley Iverson is expecting their second child.
She praised her husband as a “superhero.”
“He gave me the greatest gift of love,” she said. “He was the greatest father to his Munchkin, and the most dedicated man I know.”
The fire is the blame of the death of Iverson, and that of a 70-year-old Santa Paula woman who was killed in a car accident on an evacuation route.
The Thomas Fire, which began on Dec. 4 was fueled by the ferocious wind that drove the neighborhoods, hills and the national forest. From Saturday, had black 273,400 hectares (427 square miles).
More than 2,500 firefighters were still tackling the fire, which was 65 percent contained. Fire officials said the fire was no longer a threat to homes but was burning in remote, rugged wilderness.