Home Fire News Family, friends pay tribute to beloved firefighter, one week after overpass suicide

Family, friends pay tribute to beloved firefighter, one week after overpass suicide

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Family, friends and colleagues gathered Monday morning for a memorial service in honor of a 16-year firefighting vet who took his own life last week.

“His smile was contagious; he had a very calm demeanor, a great sense of humor, and a phenomenal work ethic,” one former colleague said about Eric Weuve.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Eric Weuve jumped from an overpass on to a busy freeway and died in an apparent suicide, authorities said. Weuve, a 41-year-old father of two, leapt on to Interstate 5 on Tuesday, said Larry Kurtz, who is also a captain. (Orange County Fire Authority via AP)
Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Eric Weuve jumped from an overpass on to a busy freeway and died in an apparent suicide, authorities said. Weuve, a 41-year-old father of two, leapt on to Interstate 5 on Tuesday, said Larry Kurtz, who is also a captain. (Orange County Fire Authority via AP)

Ken Gabrielson, a retired captain who worked with Weuve at the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) told the crowd at Huntington Beach this week, “He’s the only firefighter I know that actually turned down a promotion…He felt that he wasn’t ready. … But Eric was one of the best.”

Eric was 41 years old, and leaves behind a wife and two children.  His 6-year-old daughter Brooklyn clutched her father’s helmet during the ceremony, while Eric’s 14-year-old son Parker held his badge.

Officials say Eric jumped off an overpass above I-5 in Mission Viejo last week. While there’s some speculation that he may have suffered from PTSD related to the job, it’s still not clear why Weuve took his own life.

Fire Authority Chief Jeff Bowman told the Pasadena Star News, that first responders tend to ‘show their strength and hide their weaknesses’.

“We hire on to be rescuers,” Bowman said. “We don’t want to be rescued, and so we deny we have problems.”

Childhood friends who spoke at the memorial recalled Eric as warm and intelligent and an excellent goaltender.

“On the ice, he protected the net… Off the ice, he protected our lives,” said friend Erik Brown.

The OCFA family has a huge hole in its heart today,” Bowman said. “This is a hole that will never close.”

 

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