WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — A Ventura County firefighter killed in a vehicle accident while working on a wildfire was mourned by thousands Monday.
Relatives, co-workers and uniformed firefighters from throughout California attended a memorial service for Ryan Osler at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, the Ventura County Star reported (http://bit.ly/2cYHSV9).
Osler, 38, died Sept. 21, when a water tanker in which he was riding rolled over on a highway outside Lompoc while heading to the fire burning on sprawling Vandenberg Air Force Base. The driver was injured but survived.
Osler, an 18-year veteran of the Ventura County Fire Department, was the agency’s first firefighter to die in the line of duty in 25 years. He leaves a wife, Jennifer, and their two children.
Mourners filed into the church as bagpipers played.
Before he went inside, family friend Mike Hammer read from notes prepared by Jennifer Osler.
“Ryan loved his job but his true love and greatest joy were his children, Amanda and Brandon,” Hammer said. “He loved driving all over Southern California to watch Brandon play baseball. He loved to watch Amanda sing in her recitals.”
“He was just a phenomenal dad,” he added. “He loved music.”
Fire Capt. Jeremy Bower of Station No. 42 in Moorpark, where Osler worked, said firefighters there were still doing their job.
“Each day gets a little bit easier. Ryan pulled this department tighter together in the last week-and-a-half more than I’ve seen in my career. He has left quite a legacy on this fire department, and it won’t be forgotten,” Bower said.
The Vandenberg fire erupted on Sept. 17, and it spread over nearly 20 square miles.
Information from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com