One day before his funeral, a solemn flag ceremony was held Thursday in Vernon for a Los Angeles County firefighter who died battling a house blaze in Rancho Palos Verdes, honoring a man who dedicated two decades the fire service.
The ceremony was held at county Fire Station 13, which was previously Vernon Fire Department Station 1 — where Jonathan Flagler began his public-service career before the county took over that city’s agency. In Flagler’s honor, the station will be renamed the Jon Flagler Memorial Training Center.
Flagler, 47, was most recently assigned to county Fire Station 83. A flag that flew over that station was raised at Station 13 during Thursday’s ceremony, then later lowered, formally folded and presented to Flagler’s family.
“We’ll always remember the day we lost our brother,” county Fire Department Chaplain Vince Roldan said during the ceremony. “Jon was a true hero. And he lost his life in the line of duty upholding his oath to protect the lives and property of the community he served. There is a scripture in the gospel of John that says `Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.’ That’s the heart of a firefighter and it is also why we are all hurting so much right now.
“Jon Flagler had that heart. He lived a selfless life, always putting the people in his life that he loved first. Jon never did anything halfway. He gave his all in everything — as a husband, father, friend and as a firefighter. And that is why he will be missed but will never be forgotten.”
Flagler was overcome by smoke and flames while battling a house fire that was reported about 2 a.m. Jan. 6 in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road. He was pulled from the inferno by fellow firefighters from Fire Station 83, and was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Flagler is survived by his wife Jenny and their teenage sons, Brody and Jack.
Funeral services will be held for Flagler at 10 a.m. Friday at Cottonwood Church, 4505 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos.
“Fire Fighter Flagler was a devoted husband, father, uncle, friend and hero,” the fire department statement said in a statement announcing the funeral service. “He was a highly respected and esteemed LACoFD firefighter who truly embodied our core values of courage, caring, commitment, community, integrity and teamwork while on- and off-the job. Fire Fighter Flagler will be tremendously missed by all of us — and we will never forget him.”
Among those expected to attend the memorial service are interim county Fire Chief Anthony Marrone.
On the day Flagler died, Marrone said Flagler began his career with the city of Vernon in 2002. That agency was taken over by the county fire department in 2020. The chief called Flagler “one of our bravest.”
“Right now the fire department’s priority is the care of his wife and two teenage boys and the care and support of our fire family — and those are the brothers and sisters in uniform today who are serving the residents and communities that we are sworn to protect,” Marrone said.