FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.
33-year-old Joseph De Anda from San Luis Obispo was killed in a skiing accident at China Peak in Fresno County on Saturday.
At around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, De Anda struck a tree while skiing with a group of friends. He suffered serious injuries and died as a result of the crash, Fresno County Sheriff officials said.
De Anda had served as a firefighter paramedic with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and also served in various roles as a dispatcher and a paramedic with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. He was one of the many responding law enforcement personnel who responded to the January 9, 2018 debris flows in Montecito.
Closer to home, De Anda once responded to a rollover crash on Highway 101 involving NewsChannel reporter John Palminteri and a coworker. Palminteri and De Anda stayed in touch following the crash.
Even prior to that, De Anda served as a "kid reporter" for KCOY 12 in Santa Maria when he was around 10 years old. He helped produce his own stories for the KCOY morning news and assisted with editing.
NewsChannel reporter Dave Alley described De Anda as a "precocious journalist."
"He wanted to get into television news when he grew up, but later shifted into emergency services," Alley said of De Anda. "He was a wonderful person, always cheerful and smiling."
His many colleagues, friends and others who knew him are remembering him for his tireless work ethic and friendly spirit.
“Joey will be remembered for his positive attitude and hard work ethic. Joey made lasting relationships with everyone he came in contact with," said Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Daniel Bertucelli. "Joey was the example that if you put your heart and mind into something, you can accomplish anything.”
Christina Favuzzi, public information officer for the Montecito Fire Department and former news anchor in San Luis Obispo called him, "An unbelievably good man. An incredible friend. A gifted first responder."
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is assisting the Fresno County Sheriff's Office to ensure De Anda receives "proper honors" prior to his arrival back home.
A ceremony has not yet been announced.
The Santa Barbara County Firefighters Benevolent Foundation is raising funds in honor of De Anda and in support of his loved ones. For more information, click here.