Honoring Our Own

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On Monday morning, firefighters, paramedics, honor guards, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffs, Malibu Search and Rescue, the Malibu community, family and friends attend the flag ceremony at Station 71 for firefighter paramedic Scott LaRue who died on Sept. 22.

A beloved public servant of Malibu was honored Monday morning with a special flag ceremony at Los Angeles County Fire Station 71 on Pacific Coast Highway.

Nearly 100 fire fighters and 30 community members showed up to pay their respects to Scott LaRue, a career firefighter and paramedic who was stationed at the fire house on Point Dume. Fifty-three-year-old LaRue was killed in a car accident on Sept. 22. He leaves behind a wife and four children, his eldest, a newly hired fire fighter as well.

An honor guard in full dress uniform lowered the station flag to half staff while fire crews from nearby Calabasas, Agoura and Malibu — all wearing black memorial bands across their badges — saluted in solemn gesture to their fallen coworker. The flag was then removed and symbolically folded in front of tearful family members who were to receive it at a memorial service scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11.

By all accounts LaRue, who worked as a fireman for three decades, was well loved and admired. Paul Williams, a retired fire fighter who attended the ceremony, told The Malibu Times, “I worked with Scott my last four years before retirement. Scott was a great medic, a great fire fighter and a great friend on duty. He always had a fantastic demeanor.”

Because fire and paramedic work can be so stressful, Williams said he appreciated LaRue’s sense of humor.

“He always made us laugh. One of the things that kept us entertained was that he liked to put hot sauce on virtually everything. He put it on 100-percent of his food. Even on pancakes. I miss him greatly.”

Gene Rink, a longtime Malibu firefighter at Station 88 and paramedic who also worked with LaRue, recalled, “Every day Scott would come to work he had a great attitude. He loved his kids and he was professional. We always enjoyed working with Scott. He brought the morale up. He was a positive spirit. He was truly a great fireman.”

Fletcher Carter, also from Station 88, reminisced about LaRue’s optimistic spirit when he said, “You knew when you worked with him on the squad you were always going to have a fun day. He was a very positive guy. He had a good thing to say about everybody. He talked about his family a lot. He was upbeat and had a zest for life. He was a man’s man.”

LaRue was also a community man who volunteered around Malibu for different events throughout the years, including the Point Dume Christmas parade. Laureen Sills, who for years has hosted a Spark of Love Toy Drive at her home during Christmastime, said LaRue attended for 15 years.

Sills and Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner, who are running for city council, paid their respects at the ceremony, along with council members Laura Rosenthal, Lou La Monte and Skylar Peak. Rick Mullen, who is also running for council and has been a longtime local firefighter, attended the memorial, dressed in his uniform.

Sean Kinsner, a firefighter and paramedic spoke of the department’s loss and said, “Scott is a sadly missed brother. We have a hole in our hearts. He was always laughing and always professional.” 

As a Los Angeles County Fire helicopter flew overhead to pay tribute, the department’s second in command, LA Fire Chief Deputy David Richardson said, “It’s a very sad day that we come here to Fire Station 71 to acknowledge and pay our respects to fire fighter Scott LaRue who worked in the community of Malibu for many years. He made an impact here. We’re proud of his efforts and commitment he’s had not only to the City of Malibu, but to Los Angeles County Fire Department, the county, and those who live, work and play here in the city. It’s a terrible loss for the fire department. He can’t be replaced and definitely we will never forget him, his contributions and most importantly we will always be here as his fire department family.” 

Joe Adlhoch from Fire Station 68 in Calabasas continued that thought when he shared, “LaRue’s son Garrett, a new hire at station 125, is discovering he has hundreds of uncles he never knew he had. Scott was so proud. He was a great guy.”