The stretch of Highway 65 through Porterville is officially Captain Ramon Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones Memorial Highway
PORTERVILLE – The Porterville Fire Department held a ceremony on July 29 to honor the two firefighters lost in a library fire in 2020.
Porterville dedicated a stretch of State Highway Route 65 to Fire Captain Ramon Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones, who lost their lives in the Porterville Library Fire in February 2020. Highway memorial signs were installed to mark the stretch of road dedicated to the fallen firefighters.
A model of the highway memorial sign was unveiled at a dedication ceremony on July 29 in front of the Porterville fire station. The signs are located along State Route 65 heading northbound at the north edge of the Tule River crossing and heading southbound in the median before the Henderson Avenue Bridge.
Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) wrote the legislation to designate the four mile stretch of State Route 65 through Porterville as the fire captain Ramon Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones Memorial Highway. The resolution was signed into law in July 2021.
“The signs represent a fitting tribute to the bravery of these men who left an indelible mark on the community of Porterville,” Senator Hurtado said in a statement released after the ceremony.
Senator Hurtado stood with the families of Figueroa and Jones as the memorial sign was unveiled to them for the first time. The emotional moment of remembrance came two and a half years after Figueroa and Jones lost their lives.
“When I see these memorial signs, it brings back these people to my mind,” Tulare County Supervisor for Porterville’s district Dennis Townsend said during the ceremony.
The Porterville Library Fire started around 4 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2020. Figueroa and Jones entered the building to make sure everyone had gotten out, but tragically the building collapsed while they were inside.
Two teenagers have been charged with arson and murder with special circumstances in relation to the fire. At the time of the fire, they were both 13 years old. Both remain under home supervision after being released from custody in 2020. The trial was originally scheduled for October 2021, but it continues to be pushed back.
A statewide ceremony honoring California’s fallen firefighters took place in Sacramento on July 30 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center. Eighty-two men and women, including Figueroa and Jones, were honored for giving their lives in the line of duty. Figueroa and Jones will have their names added to the more than 1,400 fallen firefighters currently inscribed on the California Firefighters Memorial, located on the grounds of the California State Capitol.