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Old 12-23-2018, 10:07
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Default Albaro “Al” Meraz, Cosumnes Fire Department/Elk Grove

An off-duty Cosumnes firefighter died in an auto accident on Highway 99 in Elk Grove during the early afternoon of Dec. 22.

The Cosumnes Fire Department identified the victim as Firefighter Albaro “Al” Meraz. He was reportedly killed on southbound Highway 99 around 1:45 p.m. in a single-vehicle crash near Sheldon Road.

California Highway Patrol spokesperson James Young reported that the victim was driving a 1971 Toyota when he lost control of the vehicle and overturned. Investigators believe there were no other vehicles involved in the incident.

Cosumnes Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin honored Meraz’s work as a firefighter.

“Firefighter Meraz was a deeply valued brother in the fire service, among the 185 members of the Cosumnes Fire family and our local community,” he said in a Dec. 22 press statement. “Our hearts are broken for his wife, Dina, son Josh, and daughter Cheyenne for their loss.”

Meraz was a Sacramento native who joined the then-Elk Grove Fire Department in 2001. He earned the Valor Award for Exemplary Service in the Course of Duty in 2007.

During the late 2000s, Meraz played a key role in organizing the “Bomberos” program where Cosumnes firefighters helped train Mexican firefighters who visited Cosumnes Fire’s training center in Elk Grove.

Cosumnes Fire also donated a fire engine and an ambulance truck to firefighters in Guerrero Negro, Mexico, as part of the partnership.

“We’re all firefighters, unfortunately, we are not all as fortunate as the (Cosumnes Fire Department),” Meraz told the Citizen in 2008. “They don’t have equipment quite like this.”

He mentioned that many Mexican firefighters relied on donated equipment, some of which were more than 50 years old.

Then-Cosumnes Fire Chief Steve Foster told the Citizen that a Mexican assistant fire chief almost fell to his knees when he first saw his fire department’s new fire truck.

“They’ve become very good friends overnight,” he said about the connection between the Cosumnes fire staff and the Mexican firefighters.

Meraz also helped provide smoke detectors to local non-English speakers - he earned the Firemark Award for that project.

Chris Schamber, a Cosumnes firefighter and a representative of Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522, recalled Meraz’s friendliness and passion for mentoring others.

“Al was always an individual who you could call if you needed help, and he made a friend of everyone he met,” he recalled. “Al was often working with our new employees to pass on his craft and teach them the profession of firefighting. In addition to his strong sense of family, he was like a brother to almost every member of our fire department. While our duty is to respond to the tragic emergencies of the community, I don’t think we are ever really prepared when events such as this takes one of our own firefighters.”

Memorial services for Meraz will be announced at a later date. On Christmas Eve, Cosumnes fire staff members transported him to East Lawn Elk Grove Memorial Park and Mortuary. McLaughlin said that along the way they took the vehicle containing Meraz to the fire stations where he worked.

Readers with information about the crash are asked to contact the CHP at (916) 861-2300.

Meraz’s funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 9539 Racquet Court, Elk Grove.
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Old 12-24-2018, 08:09
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Default Re: Elk Grove FF killed off duty

Rest in Peace Al, you were a great man and I'll never forget your goofy laugh.

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Old 12-24-2018, 08:43
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Default Re: Elk Grove FF killed off duty

Condolences to Cosumnes Fire and the Meraz family.
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Old 01-14-2019, 22:06
care1981 care1981 is offline
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Default Re: Albaro “Al” Meraz, Cosumnes Fire Department/Elk Grove

RIP Brother. Sounds like he was a great guy.
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