Calif. volunteer firefighter dies after being hit by at least four vehicles
Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday to commemorate the life of San Jose Fire Department volunteer firefighter Robinder Bhurji
By Jason Green
San Jose Mercury News
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Robinder Bhurji could always be counted on to keep candlelight vigils safe.
After all, he had the necessary know-how as a volunteer firefighter.
But that responsibility will fall to others Saturday, when hundreds gather to pay their respects to the man known throughout the Sikh and South Bay communities for his boundless volunteerism.
Bhurji, 57, died Monday morning after being hit by at least four vehicles on Almaden Expressway at Camden Avenue. The death marked the sixth traffic-related fatality of 2019 in San Jose.
57-year-old Robinder Bhurji, or Robin to family & friends, was the victim in this morning’s hit & run crash on Almaden Expressway. It’s the 4th fatal car v pedestrian crash in San Jose this year. He was a Sunday School teacher, volunteer firefighter, husband & father of two sons. pic.twitter.com/DScLgQMr0e— Katie Nielsen (@KatieKPIX) January 29, 2019
As of Tuesday, San Jose police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said traffic investigators were no longer searching for a red pickup truck they initially believed hit Bhurji and drove off.
“They’ve ruled out the red truck,” he said in an email. “The investigation is ongoing.”
Bhurji volunteered with the Khalsa School at the San Jose Gurdwara, or temple, for about 25 years, according to family spokesman and long-time friend Dr. Gurminder Singh.
“He has probably touched tens of thousands of people,” Singh said. “It’s a huge loss for the community.”
Singh said Bhurji put his skills as a volunteer firefighter to work whenever the temple held an event involving open flame.
Bhurji was active outside the temple, helping to organize annual Fourth of July fireworks shows and events supporting cancer research. He also turned his first birthday after 9/11 into an event to support the San Jose Fire Department, Singh recalled.
“That’s how community-minded Robinder was,” he said.
Singh said Bhurji’s loss is being felt deeply, with 300 people gathering Tuesday night to commemorate the life of the married father of two adult sons. Other events are planned this week, the largest of which will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at San Jose Gurdwara, located at 3636 Murillo Ave. A candlelight vigil is set to follow at 6 p.m.
“I remember him as absolutely the biggest volunteer that I have ever known,” Singh said. “I also remember him as an open-minded, liberal person. … He would be friends with everybody.”
Anyone with information about the collision can contact Detective Troy Sirmons at 408-277-4654.
Those wishing to remain anonymous can leave a tip with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or svcrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.
Copyright 2019 San Jose Mercury News