Who was Andrew Pontius? Los Angeles Country firefighter loses his life in an explosion at Antelope Valley

On Friday, a flaming front-loader component burst at a Littlerock quarry, killing a Los Angeles County firefighter.

Published on Jun 15, 2024  |  01:51 PM IST |  144.4K
Image Courtesy: Los Angeles Fire Department
Image Courtesy: Los Angeles Fire Department
Key Highlight
  • A Los Angeles County firefighter was killed and another was injured in an explosion
  • The 19-year veteran firefighter who died was based in the nearby city of Palmdale

NOTE: The above image is just an illustration and has a connection to the person or the incident mentioned in the article.

TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains references to an individual's death.

Authorities claimed that on Friday, a Los Angeles County firefighter lost his life and another was hurt while reacting to a car fire at a quarry in a desert region to the north of Los Angeles. Due to a report of a burning car, Department firefighters were dispatched to the quarry in the neighborhood southeast of Palmdale, located in the 7300 block of Pearblossom Highway, at approximately 2:00 pm.

Who was Andrew Pontious?

According to County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone, the explosion killed 19-year-old firefighter Andrew Pontious not long after firefighters arrived, possibly about 2:10 p.m. According to the L.A. County Fire Chief, Pontious was stationed in the neighboring city of Palmdale.

CBS News reported that the body of Pontious was draped with an American flag, placed a few feet away from the car. Firefighters continued to pour water on the car for hours following the tragic incident. Later that Friday, Pontious's body was transported to the coroner's office in a lengthy procession that began at the quarry.

"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of Andrew Pontious, a brave LA County Fire Fighter who served the department and protected residents of Los Angeles County for 19 years," Supervisor Janice Hahn of Los Angeles County said in a statement. Giant flames and black smoke spewing from the engine area of a giant Caterpillar front-loader were visible, with SkyCal hovering overhead.

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Investigation to be carried out

A second firefighter who was near the explosion was being released from the hospital after not suffering any major injuries. Marrone was unaware of how the fire in the front-end loader began or what detonated because he had not visited the scene of the incident.  According to reports, an investigation will be carried out by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.

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