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Funeral for Oakland firefighter who drowned in San Diego

OAKLAND, California.A funeral service was held Wednesday on the USS Hornet in Alameda for a 25-year-old Oakland firefighter who drowned in San Diego.

A giant American flag between two Oakland fire trucks greeted those who came to the museum for a final farewell.

A procession escorted Laffan’s casket from the Chapel of the Chimes funeral home in Oakland through downtown to Alameda.

Firefighters from other departments helped staff Oakland fire stations so their brothers and sisters could grieve.

Caeden Laffan died June 27 when he fell into the ocean around 2 a.m. on the north shore of the Pacific Pier south of La Jolla.

Laffan was in town for the California Summer Firefighting Games.

Laffan was the eldest of three brothers.

After serving with the Stockton Fire Department, he proudly followed in his father Sean’s footsteps and joined the Oakland Fire Department in 2019.

“When the opportunity came up in Oakland, his enthusiasm about working with our dad overrode everything else,” Cooper Laffan said.

Sadly, their father, who was a deputy chief of the Oakland Fire Department, died in 2020 from a heart attack while on duty. Caeden Laffan spoke at his funeral.

During an interview, Caeden Laffan, the eldest of the three sons, said that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and hoped to work with him for many more years.

“We had about 10 years when we were able to work together in the fire department,” Caeden Laffan said at the time. “It turned into a year, but I loved every second of it. That’s for sure.”

Putting out fires is a Laffan family tradition.

Caeden’s maternal grandfather was also a firefighter, and his younger brother, Cooper, is also attending the fire academy, inspired by Caeden.

Cooper told mourners Wednesday that his late brother “proudly served his community, facing danger, not for personal glory, but out of a deep sense of duty to protect and serve.”

He added: “He led from the front and was always patient with me, even when I didn’t give him a reason to be.”

He ended with, “Farewell, Caeden. Thank you for being our protector, our guiding light, and our big brother. I love you.”

Michael Silva, a San Diego firefighter, is Caeden’s godfather.

“Connor and Cooper, your brother Caeden is irreplaceable. If you look around, there are over a hundred people who will support you and stand by you like a brother,” Silva said.

Oakland Fire Chief Damon Covington says he watched Caeden grow up in the fire station.

“Caedan was exactly what we wanted in a firefighter, someone who values ​​public service above self,” the chief said. “He really was one of our rising stars in the department and someone we had really big plans for, so this is a huge loss for us.”

Oakland Police Chief Floyd Mitchell and Mayor Sheng Thao paid tribute to the deceased.

At the end of the service, the bells rang for the final time, part of a ceremony steeped in tradition.

To the sound of Amazing Grace played by bagpipers, his casket was lowered from the USS Hornet. Many firefighters wiped their eyes.

Henry Lee is a reporter for KTVU. Email Henry at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and www.facebook.com/henrykleefan