Community to honor volunteer firefighter who died from COVID-19

Firefighter Luis Lopez

Firefighter Luis Lopez (Courtesy: West Benton Fire Rescue)

PROSSER, Wash. — A procession and memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 6, for a local volunteer firefighter who helped countless people in the greater Tri-Cities community.

Firefighter Luis Lopez died on March 27 due to complications from COVID-19, Fire Chief Seth Johnson of West Benton Fire Rescue said in an email announcing memorial plans.

West Benton Regional Fire Authority personnel were deeply saddened to learn of the death, Chief Johnson added, saying Lopez was a fixture in Benton and Franklin counties:

Firefighter Lopez spent more than 12 years as a Volunteer Firefighter for our agency and left our department in 2018, when he moved to the Connell area with his new wife. After settling in, he began to volunteer with Franklin County Fire District #1 which provides emergency services to Eltopia, Mesa and the area surrounding Connell.

While at WBRFA, Firefighter Lopez responded to a staggering 1,613 emergencies and logged over 720 hours of training. Outside of emergency response, Firefighter Lopez was a frequent sight during station tours, public education events, parades and loved to dress as Santa Claus during the annual Holiday Tour.

Services are invitation-only and limited due to COVID-19. Chief Johnson says the best way to pay respects will be on Tuesday during a procession through town in Mr. Lopez’s honor.

Franklin County Fire District #1 and the West Benton Regional Fire Authority will lead the procession. It will start at 10:45 a.m. at Prosser Funeral Home, 1220 Sheridan Ave, and travel south on 7th Street then east on Meade Ave to Highland Drive, ending at Sacred Heart Church.

“Those who wish to pay their respects along the procession route are encouraged to do so, while using facemasks and practicing social distancing measures,” said Chief Johnson.

Prosser Mayor Randy Taylor has requested all flags with the city be lowered on Tuesday, April 6, in honor of Firefighter Lopez.