California Firefighter Dies Working On Wildland Trail

Santa Barbara County, CA firefighter Robert Moseley died in the line of duty on February 1 when he suffered a heart attack while clearing brush on a wildland firefighter training course.

Ironically, this trail at Fire Station 18 in Gaviota had been named "Moseley Trail" after the firefighter by his co-workers in December, said Capt. Charlie Johnson.

Moseley, 52, served the department for 19 years as a full time firefighter and for two years before that as a reserve firefighter. He was promoted to Engineer/Inspector in July 2000.

Moseley's fellow firefighters attempted to revive him after he collapsed. "One heard a thump and turned around, and Bob was on the ground," Johnson said. The firefighters called 911 and performed CPR, but Moseley was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Goleta Valley College Hospital at 10:28 a.m.

He is survived by his parents, his brother, and his son Scott, who attends Santa Barbara City College.

"This was a guy that was very much connected to the earth," Johnson said. Moseley enjoyed looking for rocks and fossils, and he wanted to be buried at sea, so his friends had his ashes placed inside one of his fossil rocks and had it engraved, and will cast it out to sea.

"That was Bob," Johnson said. "He was a different thinker." Johnson said the rock was engraved with the word "Sooner," because that was what Moseley always said instead of "Goodbye."

"He never said goodbye to anybody," the captain said. "He said, I'll see you sooner rather than later."

Moseley will also be remembered for his sense of humor. Before he was cremated, he was dressed for the viewing in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, dark sun glasses, and had a smirk on his face, like the smile he always had in life, Johnson said.

Moseley was also a world traveler and visited places including Panama, Africa, Turkey, and Europe.

"He was a well-respected and well-liked individual," Johnson said.

Memorial services took place Saturday morning at the Santa Barbara Mission, followed by a motorcade through Santa Barbara to Gaviota State Park for a public reception. Johnson said a Chumash Indian spiritual leader performed a special blessing at Moseley's funeral because he took a personal interest in protecting several Chumash archeological sites around the the fire station.

Contributions can be made in memory of Bob Moseley to the Santa Barbara County Firefighter Benevolent Foundation at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Account #09124009.

Photos by Chris Jensen/CFPA

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