Riverside County Fire Chief Bill Weiser speaks toward the audience during a Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Riverside County Fire Chief Bill Weiser talks about the Aug. 6 helicopter crash that killed two firefighters and the pilot. (Photo by Alicia Ramirez)

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors last week recognized Assistant Chief Josh Bischof, Capt. Tim Rodriguez and pilot Tony Sousa, who died last month in a helicopter crash while battling a brush fire in Cabazon.

“Our department stands before you resolute to continue our services as always,” Riverside County Fire Chief Bill Weiser said. “Over the past week, we have had our memorial services and celebrations of life for all three. They were fitting and they were honorable. 

“These men that died were good family men with children and wives of many years,” he continued. “And we all continue to mourn their loss, and their loss will be felt and impact our department for decades.”

The board presented Weiser with three proclamations — one each for Bischof, Rodriguez and Sousa — to give to the families.

“These proclamations attempt to convey the remarkable lives that these men lived, but it’s impossible,” Supervisor Chuck Washington said. “All left us doing what they love, all left a legacy as wonderful husbands, fathers and public servants.”

Washington, who attended the funerals for Bischof and Rodriguez, said the impact the men had left on those around them was evident.

“There was so much love in the room for these men,” he said. “So many stories, so much joy amongst the memories, a true celebration of life.”

Bischof, who was 46, is survived by his wife and two children. Sousa, who was 55, is survived by his wife and two sons. Rodriguez, who was 44, is survived by his wife and their three children.

“I want to thank the citizens of Riverside County for their outpouring of love and cards, condolences, flowers and just standing at attention as our processions passed,” Weiser said.

In related action: The board unanimously ratified and approved a three-year, $900 million cooperative agreement with Cal Fire to provide fire protection services to the county and local cities and agencies.

A video of the meeting can be found here.

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.

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