CAL FIRE captain dies in off-duty hiking accident
CAL FIRE Capt. David William Lutz, 33, of the San Mateo-Santa Cruz unit, died during a trip to Pfeiffer Burns State Park with his family
Harriet Blair Rowan
The Mercury News
LOS GATOS, Calif. — Cal Fire officials confirmed Saturday that a captain for the San Mateo-Santa Cruz unit had died in an off-duty hiking accident earlier in the week.
Capt. David William Lutz, 33, a Los Gatos native, died on Wednesday in the accident near Big Sur. He was just two weeks shy of his 34th birthday. The accident happened while he and his family were visiting Pfeiffer Burns State Park, near Big Sur, according to a CalFire statement.
“It’s a big loss for us,” said Capt. Jordan Motta, a colleague of Lutz and representative for the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2881. Lutz had recently returned to the El Granada fire station as the captain of Engine 41, Motta said.
The young father — he and his wife had three children, with a fourth on the way — was most passionate about training his fellow firefighters, Motta said, a role he had taken on enthusiastically in his previous assignment as battalion training caption.
“We will feel it more and more as the months go by and we have these refresher training and David’s not there,” Motta said. “His passion was not just serving the public by responding to calls, but serving by having the best-trained firefighters working with him.”
Lutz’s “fire family” had organized a memorial fund that raised more than $40,000 by mid-day Sunday.
Fellow firefighters told Motta that Lutz had been talking about looking forward to taking time off to be with his family this summer, when the newest addition to the family is expected.
Lutz was born in Los Gatos, and was raised in Corralitos, where he started his career as a volunteer firefighter.
Lutz is survived by his wife, Tisha Lutz, his step-daughter Alyssa, young children Bailey, Caleb and Hope (due in July), his parents Michael and Mary Anne Lutz, siblings Leah Lutz, Joshua Lutz (Stephanie), Erin (Lutz) Adams (Scott), Krista (Lutz) Sobrak-Seaton (Nick), Anna (Lutz) Anton (Willy), Daniel Lutz, Matthew Lutz, Elizabeth Lutz, Jacob Lutz, and his nieces and nephews.
Memorial arrangements have not yet been announced.
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