La Ribera Volunteer Fire Department

BY: FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ

On Thursday, September 19, Esteban Alcorn, a former Captain of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District of the United States Northwest Region, launched a city-wide campaign via Facebook to help the Los Cabos southwest community of La Ribera to create, organize, and support a volunteer fire department.

Esteban's humanitarian efforts are in direct response to the tragic death of Maria Teresa Lomeli; a La Ribera resident who died in a house fire because the quaint and very small town was not equipped to save her life. Alcorn is a former Flight Medic, retired Firefighter/Paramedic of the Carson City Fire Department who also worked as a Crash Fire Rescue Officer with the United States Marine Corps.

It was at a little past 2 a.m. on August 7 when La Ribera residents of Juarez Street, near the corner with Hacienda de Eureka, noticed a blazing house afire and immediately called emergency services since there were people inside the burning home.

The frantic La Ribera residents quickly responded by carrying and tossing buckets of water to combat and contain the deadly fire. When the firemen arrived, the parents managed to escape the blaze but said that their daughter was still inside.

Once the fire was controlled, it was confirmed that inside was the lifeless body of the young Maria Teresa Lomelí Rodríguez; a dear member of the small La Ribera community who was dedicated to sewing. Family members at the scene and her parents went into a nervous breakdown and were transferred to San José del Cabo for medical attention.

"San Jose del Cabo firefighters are the closest emergency responders, which consequently took an hour to reach La Ribera. Far too long to have any chance of saving Maria Teresa Lomelí," lamented Esteban. "La Ribera is 45 miles north of San Jose del Cabo, and La Ribera residents rely on firefighters from both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas for emergency response. Which simply doesn’t work," he added.

And therein are the most valued reasons for Esteban's mission to help build a volunteer fire department that will serve La Ribera BCS, Mexico and its surrounding communities.

In addition to the loss of Maria's young life, the Lomeli family lost their home and all of their possessions. Alcorn organized an August 9 fundraiser to help the family through the La Ribera Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page, asking community members and everyone within the Los Cabos community to help gather donations of women's clothing, shoes, men's clothing, blankets, sheets, pillows, towels, dishes, plates, cutlery, pans, and cleaning material (brooms, mop, dustpan, buckets), as well as any donations of construction material (paint, brushes, rollers, cement, sand, etc.).

La Ribera resident, Gaston Cuevas, helped Esteban Alcorn gather all donations and deliver them to the heartbroken and traumatized family. Since the tragedy, the building of the La Ribera Volunteer Fire Department campaign has created an Instagram account under La Ribera Firefighters in their efforts to garner more support,

In early October, The Parma Fire Rescue (Parma, Ohio, U.S.) and Chief James Cook donated helmets, wild land gear, uniform shirts and pants, boots and an attack hose. In mid-October, it was announced the mayor of La Ribera BCS, Mayor Juan Carlos Montano, has agreed to serve as Chief of Administration for the La Ribera Volunteer Fire Department. He will be joined by the assistance of Eloy Rosas Torres; the head of Civil Defense for La Ribera, who will serve as Assistant Chief/Chief of Operations.

For more information on how to help, please call (775) 393-9895 or contact via email at admin@lariberafiredept.com or visit their website, https://www.lariberafiredept.com.