Prosser Volunteer Firefighter Who Died From COVID to be Honored
Firefighter Luis Lopez, 42, died on March 27, 2021 due to complications from COVID-19, Fire Chief Seth Johnson of West Benton Fire Rescue said:
Firefighter Lopez spent more than 12 years as a Volunteer Firefighter for our agency and left our department in 2018, when he moved to the Connell area with his new wife. After settling in, he began to volunteer with Franklin County Fire District #1 which provides emergency services to Eltopia, Mesa and the area surrounding Connell.
While at WBRFA, Firefighter Lopez responded to a staggering 1,613 emergencies and logged over 720 hours of training. Outside of emergency response, Firefighter Lopez was a frequent sight during station tours, public education events, parades and loved to dress as Santa Claus during the annual Holiday Tour.
A procession and memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 6, for a man who helped so many people and touched so many lives in the greater Tri-Cities community.
Firefighter Lopez spent more than 12 years as a Volunteer Firefighter for the West Benton Regional Fire Authority and left the department in 2018, when he moved to the Connell area with his wife, three children and two step-children. After getting settled and adjusted, he began to volunteer with Franklin County Fire District #1, providing emergency services to Eltopia, Mesa and the area surrounding Connell.
While at WBRFA, Firefighter Lopez responded to 1,613 emergencies and logged over 720 hours of training. He also enjoyed fighting wildland fires, and was often first to be sent to battle blazes across the region and Washington state. Outside of emergency response, Firefighter Lopez was always happy to show people around during station tours, show up for public education events, participate in parades and dress up like Santa Claus during the annual Holiday Tour. He worked for many years as a custodian and a school bus driver for the Prosser School District.
Services are invitation-only and limited due to COVID-19. Chief Johnson says the best way to pay respects will be on Tuesday during a procession through town in Mr. Lopez’s honor.
Franklin County Fire District #1 and the West Benton Regional Fire Authority will lead a procession from the Prosser Funeral Home (1220 Sheridan) to Sacred Heart Church (1905 Highland Drive), starting at 10:45 a.m. The procession will travel south on 7th Street then turn east on Meade Ave to Highland. Those who wish to pay their respects along the procession route are encouraged to do so, while using face coverings and practicing social distancing measures.
“Luis embraced the hard work that came with being a firefighter,” said Chief Johnson. “He always had a smile on his face, until it was time to go to work, then he was all business." Johnson elaborated, "He was a very committed volunteer, spending nights away from his family to protect the community."
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