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Firefighter's Final Farewell

Thousands pay tribute to the first woman in L.A. Fire Department killed in line of duty.

August 21, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Thousands of mourners filled the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Friday to honor the first female Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter to die in the line of duty.

Firefighters from as far as New York joined Los Angeles Fire Chief William Bamattre, Police Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor James K. Hahn and other dignitaries for the two-hour service honoring rookie Jaime Foster.

A procession escorted the coffin from City Hall to the Roman Catholic cathedral, where eulogists described Foster as "a driven professional" who "exuded kindness and friendliness."

Four Fire Department helicopters flew overhead in the fallen comrade formation, and hundreds of firefighters saluted when the coffin was taken out of the cathedral at the end of the service for burial at a cemetery in Lancaster.

Foster, 25, of Palmdale had worked at Fire Station 73 in Reseda for less than three months when she fell from the back of a hook-and-ladder truck last Saturday as it was backing up and was crushed.

Officials have opened an investigation into the incident, said fire Capt. Joseph Castro.

Seventy-one Los Angeles firefighters have died in the line of duty in the department's 118-year history.

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