LANCASTER – The interchange at California Highway 14 and Angeles Forest Highway is now known as the “Los Angeles County Fire Captain Ted Hall and Engineer Arnie Quinones Memorial Interchange.”
The interchange was designated to honor the heroic actions that took the lives of the two firefighters during the 2009 Station Fire.
“It gives me chills when we do something like this because we don’t want to,” said Assemblyman Steve Knight. “We want you to come home safely to your families every night.”
Knight joined county and public safety officials Wednesday in paying tribute to Hall and Quinones during an official dedication ceremony in Lancaster.
The ceremony featured a Presentation of Colors by the L.A. County Fire Department’s Honor Guard, the singing of the National Anthem by Engineer Terry Burnley, and presentations and remarks from Knight, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Fire Chief Daryl Osby and retired Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman.
“These signs are beautiful public reminders of the heroism, and the courage and the gallantry that Ted and Arnie exhibited that faithful day,” said Freeman.
On August 30, 2009, Fire Captain Ted Hall, 47, and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, 34, were killed in the line of duty when their emergency response vehicle went over the side of Mt. Gleason Road and fell 800 feet into a steep canyon. The men had been battling oncoming flames in the 2009 Station Fire, the largest wildfire in Los Angeles County history.
Replicas of the signs in the two firefighters’ honor were unveiled at the ceremony Wednesday.
The actual signs are affixed on California Highway 14, at both the northbound and the southbound entrances to the interchange.
“The citizens will always remember Ted and Arnie, and the signs on the freeway will be a constant reminder, a constant example of what it truly is to be a public servant,” said Osby.
The widows of both men were each presented with a proclamation from the County of Los Angeles, a resolution from the State of California, and a single dollar bill from retired Fire Chief Freeman.
In 2009, there was a begging homeless man who used to frequent Fire Station 24, Freeman explained. In the aftermath of the Station Fire, the homeless man came by, but this time he was not looking for a handout, Freeman said.
“He knew that Arnie had worked there, and he gave his two dollars, his last two dollars,” Freeman said. “He wanted to contribute all that he had in the memory of Ted and Arnie.”
Freeman kept the original two bills, and on Wednesday, he presented each framed bill to the widows of Hall and Quinones.
“That is everyone’s job in this community to never forget what Ted and Arnie meant to our community, what they meant to our safety, and to always remember that they’re in our hearts,” Knight said.