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Hundreds gather for celebration of Life ceremony for CAL FIRE Captain Tim Rodriguez

Memorial services began today for the three men killed in a helicopter crash while battling a fire in Cabazon on August 6.

You can watch the full ceremony below:

Hundreds of mourners gathered inside the Ontario Convention Center to pay tribute to fallen Cal Fire Riverside Fire Captain Tim Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez, along with Assistant Chief Josh Bischof and pilot Tony Sousa, lost their lives in the mid-air collision, which the NTSB is still investigating.

Members of Rodriguez's fire family reflected on his passion for his work during his memorial service today.

“Tim made Cal Fire a better place," said Joe Tyler, Cal Fire Director and Fire Chief.

Tyler shared highlights about Captain Rodriguez’s career, which began at Riverside County Fire Department Station 41 in Mecca in 2002.

Captain Rodriguez’s son fought back tears as he shared some of his fondest memories about his dad.

“When he would build us cool forts to play in for days or even when he would call us outside to look at constellations or just anything involving space really,” said Josh Becerra, son of Captain Tim Rodriguez.

Rodriguez’s wife also shared a few words and noted her husband’s love for his work, but above that, his love for his family. 

“Just saying that Tim was a loving and devoted father is not enough to describe the magnitude of his relationship with his kids," said Dorothy Rodriguez, wife of Captain Tim Rodriguez.

The ceremony for Assistant Chief Josh Bischof will be held on Aug. 24.

The livestreams will also be archived on the YouTube channel for those who wish to view them later.

The celebration of life for Pilot Tony Sousa will remain private, with no livestreaming available, CAL FIRE confirmed.

The aftermath of the helicopter crash has prompted a comprehensive investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

"We’ll examine the airframe, the engine and other components as necessary," said Eleazar Nepomuceno, an NTSB aviation accident investigator. "Once the wreckage has been recovered, our team will collect archived information which will include the pilot, the machine, and the environment."

NTSB officials have announced that a complete investigation will take 18 to 24 months, with a preliminary report expected within 15 days of the crash. In the meantime, NTSB investigators plan to use drones to photograph the wreckage from all angles and throughout various times of the day. 

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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