Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

In Memory of
Firefighter Jaime L. Foster
Fire Station No. 73
A Platoon
Appointed February 2004
Died August 14, 2004
Traumatic injury caused by single vehicle accident.
5710 North Jamieson Avenue, Encino

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On Saturday, August 14, 2004 at 1252 hours Engine 83, Engine 100, Light Force 93, Light Force 73 and Battalion 10 were dispatched to a structure fire at 5710 North Jamieson Avenue in Encino.  Upon arrival companies found fire in the northeast bedroom of a small (1,382 sqft) three-bedroom,  one-story, single family residence.  The fire in the 52 year old structure, believe caused by an electrical short in a terrarium heater system, was quickly extinguished.  Firefighter Foster, working an overtime shift, worked with her crew and assisted with firefighting.  After the knock-down of the fire Foster assisted with overhaul operations including interior truck work.  As the companies were leaving the incident, Firefighter Foster jumped on to the tailboard of Engine 273 to assist in backing the apparatus out of the cul-de-sac.  The Engineer reported hearing three-bells (from Foster) signaling clear to back.   Captain Gregory Reynar, also working overtime, was walking in the street, approximately twenty feet behind the engine and facing away,  to clear traffic.  As the engine backed, Foster fell from the tailboard.  An eight-year-old boy, the only witness, stated that she fell to the street and lay motionless.  Engine 273 slowly backed over her upper body and did not stop until her lifeless body appeared in front of the apparatus.  Firefighter Foster was declared deceased at Tarzana Hospital.

Firefighter Jamie L. Foster, 25,  was the first probationary member and the first woman to die in the Line-of-Duty on the Los Angeles Fire Department.  She was appointed in February 2004 and upon completion of training at the Drill Tower, was assigned to Fire Station No. 73 in Reseda on May 31.  Foster was assigned to Light Force 73  and was just completing the third of a four month of training period.  

By all accounts she was well liked by her crew.  She was smart and eager to learn.  "She wanted to do everything.... We had to tell her to stop sometimes," said Captain Tim McDonell.  She was a bubbly and energetic rookie with a contagious smile.  Firefighter Todd Harris said she'd flash it every time the alarm sounded-no matter how late at night it was.  Captain McDonell remembers ordering her to wipe if off of her face once.  It was one order she could not follow.

Jamie Foster was born in Inglewood, the second of three sisters.  She had wanted to be a firefighter since she was eight years old.  She grew up in Antelope Valley, attending Wilsona Elementary School and Littlerock High School.  She attended College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita and was captain of the volleyball team.

She received a scholarship to the California State University, Dominguez Hills and obtained a nursing and paramedic license.  She worked in the emergency room of  the Antelope Valley Hospital.  While working in the emergency room  one of her patients, believed to be a firefighter with a broken leg inspired her to become a firefighter.

A Candlelight Memorial was held on Thursday, August 19 at Fire Station 73.  

A memorial service was conducted on Friday, August 20th in downtown Los Angeles.  It began with a Engine 73 carrying the casket of Firefighter Jamie Foster followed by a bagpipe-led procession of hundreds of uniformed members.  The procession started at City Hall and proceeded north on Main Street and turned west on Temple Street.  Truck Companies on Main Street and on Temple raised and crossed their aerials and draped an American Flag over the marchers.  Fire Companies form every part of California lined Temple Street, their members in dress uniform and at attention.  Members for the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol as well as numerous other city departments and civilians lined the procession route.  

Engine 73 stopped on Temple Street at the entrance to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels as the uniformed members of the procession entered the grounds and lined up.    Members from Task Force 73 served as pall bearers and carried Firefighter Foster's casket up the stairs and across the the walkway.  At the entrance to the cathedral they paused as four Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters flew over in the "Missing  Firefighter" formation.  In side the cathedral was filled to capacity with over thousand friends, family and uniformed members including Mayor James K. Hahn, Fire Chief William R. Bamattre and Police Chief William J. Bratton.

Cardinal Roger Mahony opened the service; "Today we are gathered in sorrow to recognize the valor, courage and self-giving of Jamie Foster."

Department Chaplain George Negrete conducted the service, the obituary was delivered by Terry Robnett and Terry Wohler.  The eulogy was given by Jennifer Goring who said "Janie was the strongest person I have ever met in my life, strong in mind, strong in body."  Presentations were made by Mayor James K. Hahn, Fire Chief William Bamattre and UFLAC President Pat McOsker.  Chief Bamattre presented Jamie's mother, Gloria Foster with her daughters fire badge, number 1021, which has been retired from service.  Two of Jamie's co-workers, Captain Tim McDonell and Apparatus Operator   XXX expressed their feelings.  At the conclusion of the service uniformed members again lined the courtyard and Jamie's crew carried her casket out of the cathedral.  Firefighter John Keys played "Amazing Grace" and Battalion Chief Daniel McCarty played taps.  The casket was replaced on Engine 73 and taken for private services and burial as a cemetery in Lancaster.  As the procession traveled northbound on the Golden State Freeway, at the Balboa Boulevard overpass, an American flag was displayed from the crossed aerials of Truck Company 75 and  Truck Company 39, members lined up at attention, tendering a final salute to a faithful sister. 


August 21, 2004

Firefighter's Final Farewell
 Thousands pay tribute to the first woman in L.A. Fire Department killed in line of duty.

From a Times Staff Writer

Thousands of mourners filled the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Friday to honor the first female Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter to die in the line of duty.

Firefighters from as far as New York joined Los Angeles Fire Chief William Bamattre, Police Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor James K. Hahn and other dignitaries for the two-hour service honoring rookie Jaime Foster.

A procession escorted the coffin from City Hall to the Roman Catholic cathedral, where eulogists described Foster as "a driven professional" who "exuded kindness and friendliness."

Four Fire Department helicopters flew overhead in the fallen comrade formation, and hundreds of firefighters saluted when the coffin was taken out of the cathedral at the end of the service for burial at a cemetery in Lancaster.

Foster, 25, of Palmdale had worked at Fire Station 73 in Reseda for less than three months when she fell from the back of a hook-and-ladder truck last Saturday as it was backing up and was crushed.

Officials have opened an investigation into the incident, said fire Capt. Joseph Castro.

Seventy-one Los Angeles firefighters have died in the line of duty in the department's 118-year history.


Death in the line of duty. . .

May 20, 2005

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