Calif. governor orders flags to half-staff to honor FF-medic who died of COVID

San Diego firefighter Nickolas Ramirez, 59, was a 19-year veteran of the fire service, and had worked as a deputy fire marshal since 2014


Karen Kucher
The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday honored a fallen firefighter/paramedic from San Diego who died last month from COVID-19.

The governor said flags at the state Capitol are being flown at half-staff Tuesday in recognition of Nickolas Ramirez, 59, who died Feb. 16. Ramirez had been a firefighter for 19 years, and had been a deputy fire marshal since 2014, city officials said.

"Jennifer and I mourn the untimely passing of Firefighter-Paramedic Ramirez and extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues during this painful time," Newsom said in a statement. "Firefighter-Paramedic Ramirez was a dedicated first responder and beloved member of the community who will be dearly missed."

Ramirez is survived by his wife and two daughters. A service is planned for Friday.

Fire officials said Ramirez had worked at fire stations in Rolando, Linda Vista and San Carlos during his career and had "lightning quick wit" and made those around him laugh.

"He always entered a room with a smile and never left without leaving smiles on the faces of others," the department said in a statement.

"Nick absolutely loved the fire service and was an outstanding paramedic... He treated every patient as if they were a member of his own family. His compassion knew no bounds, both with his fire family and his patients."

Ramirez is the first firefighter with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to die from complications from the COVID-19 virus, a spokesperson said.

Mitch Mendler, a friend and former colleague of Ramirez, told NBC 7 San Diego last month that Ramirez was days from retiring when he fell ill. Mendler said Ramirez was fully vaccinated.

"He was very positive. He was a great paramedic, an excellent firefighter," Mendler told the station. "The kind of guy you could trust, count on, to get the job done."

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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©2022 The San Diego Union-Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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