Family, friends and members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department gathered at Fire Station 131 in Palmdale Tuesday morning for a ceremony to honor firefighter Tory Carlon, who was killed earlier this month.
Fire trucks lined the street as loved ones gathered for the flag ceremony to honor 44-year-old Carlon, was shot and killed at Fire Station 81 in Auga Dulce June 1.
“We share our deepest sympathies with the entire Carlon family, our Fire Department and friends as we all feel this loss,” said John Denton, chaplain for the Fire Department. “I’ve only worked with him a few times but I’ve enjoyed getting to know him by hearing about him from his daughters, wife and family.”
The flag that was over Fire Station 81 the day of Carlon’s death was raised over Fire Station 131 during the ceremony, Denton said, and it’s been a tradition for the flag to be lowered, folded and given to the family after a firefighter’s “last assignment.”
“(The flag) represents one of the last assignments of firefighter specialist Tory Carlon, and also serves to recognize his more-than 20 years of dedicated service to the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the citizens of Palmdale (where) he worked.”
Traditionally, the flag is folded 13 times with a specific meaning for each fold. The stars on the flag remain on the outside to represent the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” Denton said.
With each fold, Denton read off the meaning, which varied from a symbol of life to the sacrifice made by all firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty.
“The folded flag reminds us of the soldiers who have fought and died preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we all enjoy today,” Denton said. “The tradition of the folded flag has deep meaning for those whom the flag has flown for and to those who possess them.”
Carlon, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, was born and raised in the Antelope Valley and was the youngest of five children. He attended the fire tech program at Antelope Valley College before working in forest service for three years. He was accepted by the L.A. County Fire Department Academy and was stationed at various fire stations in the area, including Fire Station 131.
Carlon is survived by his wife Heidi, three daughters and parents Larry and Bonnie Carlon.
“With the birth of his daughters, his priorities quickly shifted to being the best father he could possibly be,” Denton said. “He loved his job but his passion was his girls. He was truly a girl dad.”
The folded flag will be presented to Carlon’s family by L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby during the memorial service Thursday.
The memorial service for Tory Carlon will be livestreamed on the Los Angeles County Fire Department Facebook page Thursday, June 17, beginning at 10 a.m.