Procession salutes firefighter and paramedic Joey De Anda, who died in a skiing accident
Firefighters this week honored Joey De Anda, a beloved 33-year-old Santa Barbara County firefighter and paramedic who died during a skiing accident Saturday in Fresno.
Mr. De Anda was originally from Santa Maria, and a procession in his honor took place Tuesday from Fresno to Santa Maria.
Mr. De Anda was injured on a slope at China Peak Resort, near Lakeshore. First responders found him lying in the snow after responding at approximately 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
A preliminary investigation showed that Mr. De Anda, who was wearing a helmet, suffered severe injuries after colliding with a tree. Resuscitations were attempted on scene but proved unsuccessful.
“He worked primarily in the Santa Maria Valley, was assigned to an engine company and at times an ambulance responding to 9-1-1 calls,” Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, the county fire department’s public information officer, told the News-Press Wednesday.
Tuesday’s procession transported Mr. De Anda’s body from Fresno and included fire trucks and other first responder vehicles, who arrived around 4 p.m. in Santa Maria.
The procession left Highway 101 at Stowell Road and proceeded to the Dudley Hoffman Mortuary, the location of a memorial service.
“Joey’s body was transported back from Fresno to Santa Maria on Tuesday, during which citizens and first responders paid their respects by lining the procession,” Capt. Bertucelli told the News-Press.
Mr. De Anda was transported at the front of the procession, in a Bearcat armored vehicle. This is an honor that reflected the relationship that Mr. De Anda had forged with other firefighters, paramedics and police.
Mr. De Anda attended Santa Maria and St. Joseph high schools before studying journalism at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo County.
“He was a great human being who was always positive and committed to the citizens he served as well as his family and co-workers,” Capt. Bertucelli said, adding that Mr. De Anda was engaged to be married.