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Fallen firefighters remembered for their courage [Updated]

August 31, 2009 |  4:05 pm
Firefighters600 

Los Angeles County Fire Department Captains Rudy Gilson and Tedmund "Ted" Hall, above left, ate breakfast together while they were battling the recent Morris fire in Angeles National Forest.

Over scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and coffee they would talk about the behavior of the fire and their tactics to defeat it. They would also talk about their families, and that's what Gilson said he will always remember about Hall.

"He spent every free moment with his family, with his immediate family or extended family," Gilson said of Hall. "Camping, get-togethers, motorcycle riding, anything outdoors," he said.

Hall, 47, died yesterday along with 34-year-old Arnaldo Quinones, above right, when they drove off the side of a treacherous road in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton.

[Updated 9:40 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Quinones was 35.]

"He lived life to the fullest, he enjoyed his work and his home," Gilson said, adding that Hall was married and had two children.

A spokeswoman for the Hall family, who identified herself only as Sharon, echoed those sentiments. She said that Hall's two sons are now in their 20s and that Hall was "a great family man."

Meanwhile, city, county and state leaders expressed sadness over Quinones and Hall's deaths.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said the Assembly today would adjourn in honor of Hall and Quinones. She said it was "in honor of the heroic sacrifice that Fire Captain Tedmund Hall and firefighter Specialist Arnaldo Quinones made yesterday performing the duties they loved -- duties that protected the lives and homes of countless others."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also issued statements about the two firemen's deaths. "This tragic news reminds us all of the real danger these brave men and women face every day," Villaraigosa said. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

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