Firefighters present family with tribute badge destroyed in a wildfire
The granddaughters of a firefighter killed in the line of duty more than 70 years ago were presented with a tribute badge today to replace the original that was salvaged from the ruins of the devastating 2008 Sayre Fire in Sylmar.
Firefighter George Damron died while responding to a call in Boyle Heights in 1935. His badge was a cherished keepsake to his granddaughters, Pamela and Cheryl Dibble. But when their home at the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar burned down, the silver badge was lost. The fire destroyed nearly all of the community's 600 homes, leaving behind a wasteland and rubble and ash.
Later, when the granddaughters were sifting through the remains of their home, they found the melted and scorched badge and showed it to firefighters. On the one-year anniversary of the fire, Los Angeles City Fire Department officials decided to present the family with a new badge.
The scorched one was donated to the Los Angeles Fire Department's Hollywood Museum.
"We honor our badge because we know how hard we work to get it and how hard we work to keep it," said Capt. Steve Ruda. "And the fact that these were the grandchildren of a firefighter meant they are part of our family. We have an obligation to take care of them."
-- Esmeralda Bermudez
Photo: L.A. City firefighters attempt to save a fully-engulfed mobile home at the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar in November 2008. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times