California Firefighter Dies in Rollover During Heavy Storm

Firefighter Chris Kanton, formerly of Paso Robles, was killed Saturday near Beaumont in Riverside County.

Kanton, 24, was traveling in a California Department of Forestry fire engine on Interstate 10 east of Highway 60 when the engine left the freeway and traveled down a steep embankment, struck several trees and came to a rest on the roadway below.

The engine was responding to storm-related accidents. Two other firefighters were injured in the accident.

Kanton moved to Paso Robles from Washington when he was nine years old. After graduating from high school he volunteered at the CDF fire station in Heritage Ranch, said Rick Griggs, CDF spokesman.

He attended a fire academy in Santa Maria and went to work for the CDF in Riverside County in May of 2003. Kanton is survived by his wife of six months, Kathryn.

Saturday's crash marked the first on-duty firefighter death for the Riverside County Fire Department in recent years, Griggs said.

The fast-moving storm that moved through the area brought strong winds that knocked over more than 50 power poles in Perris and Quail Valley. Up to 30,000 Southern California Edison customers were temporarily without power, company spokesman Paul Klein said.

Gusts knocked down trees in Banning and San Jacinto, officials said.

"All the streets were like rivers and one house had water damage," county fire engineer Scott Bethurum said from Banning.

However, there were relatively few accidents as most residents hunkered down to wait out the rain.

Distributed by the Associated Press


Funeral Arrangements:

A memorial service for Firefighter Kanton has been scheduled for Wednesday August 10, 2005, 2:00 p.m.

Location: Crossroads Church, 2331 Kellogg Av., Corona CA 92881: Thomas Brothers Map Page 773 E-1

Reception to follow from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at a nearby location, details will follow soon.

Firefighter Kanton will be buried in his home town of Paso Robles on Friday August 12, 2005.

Arrangements for the interment are pending and will be made public as soon as they are available. Fire Departments, Public Safety Agencies, Public Officials and Dignitaries are asked to contact the CDF/Riverside County Fire Department RSVP unit at (951) 940-6840 or (951) 940-6841. Please have the following information available when contacting the RSVP Unit:

The number of apparatus or vehicles attending, the number of personnel attending, a point of contact name and phone number.

Dignitaries and public officials are asked to call so that we can follow up with further details. Large agencies and individual CDF Units are asked to call from a single point of contact. Check the www.rvcfire.org website for details regarding the procession as they become available.

The RSVP lines will be in operation from 8 a.m. until 7 a.m. PST. General Public information can be obtained by calling the CDF/Riverside County Fire Department Public Affairs Bureau at (951) 940- 6985 or by checking the Fire Department website at www.rvcfire.org .

Information will be forthcoming later today regarding locations and addresses for donations in lieu of flowers.


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