Pelosi Statement Honoring California Firefighters November 6, 2003

Washington, D.C. — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke today on the House floor in support of a resolution (H. Res. 425) honoring the firefighters and other public servants who responded to the recent, devastating wildfires in Southern California. Below are her remarks.

“Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I want to commend my colleagues from California, Chairman Duncan Hunter and Congresswoman Susan Davis, for bringing this resolution to the floor, enabling Members of Congress to express our appreciation for the brave service of the firefighters in our great state of California. These firefighters battled more than a dozen wildfires over the course of more than a week, saving countless lives and protecting us during this great natural disaster.

“I want to join with my California colleagues in offering my praise, respect, and appreciation for the heroic men and women who put their lives at risk under extremely hazardous conditions to contain this disaster and minimize the damage to land, homes, and businesses in Southern California. “The tales of these firefighters are tales of bravery and sacrifice. We mourn the loss of Congresswoman Woolsey’s constituent, Marin County firefighter Steven Rucker, who made the ultimate sacrifice, and we all extend our sympathy to his family at home and his friends at the firehouse. In San Diego County, a number of volunteer firefighters sacrificed their own homes while battling the blazes to preserve the homes of others in their communities.

“I would also like to commend the efforts of the 72 members of the San Francisco Fire Department, who were quick to join the strike teams to assist our neighbors to the south.

“These devastating fires have burned almost 750,000 acres, caused the deaths of 22 of our fellow Californians, and destroyed 3,500 homes. It is almost inconceivable.

“As we prepare to help families and communities recover from devastation and loss, we recognize that without the tireless and heroic efforts of thousands of firefighters, our losses could have been much greater. We salute their bravery, their heroism, and the decision they make every day to risk their own safety and to protect the safety of others. And I might add, we commend and salute their courageous families. We all acknowledge the debt we owe to California’s bravest for their successful efforts to contain these massive fires.”


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