Santa Barbara fire station mourns loss of firefighter in ski accident at China Peak

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- 33-year-old Joseph De Anda died in a ski accident at China Peak Saturday afternoon.

De Anda was known to snowboard, and those who knew him said he and his friends were taking a 'snowboarding trip,' but the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said he was on skis when he crashed into a tree and died.

Monday afternoon, he was scheduled to be back at work at Station 26 in Santa Barbara. His fellow firefighters said it was a difficult day without De Anda.

"You're constantly wondering what Joey would have been doing right now," said Fire Captain Cesar Martinez. "His absence is felt, so it's a somber mood."

Martinez said he and other firefighters at Station 26 have reminders of De Anda around the station - photos of him at work.

"I speak for everyone in saying he truly made an impact on this department in the short time he was here with Santa Barbara Fire," said Martinez.

De Anda joined the Santa Barbara County Fire Department in 2020. Before that, he was a paramedic and a dispatcher with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's SWAT team.

Martinez said a group of firefighters from his station were sent to be with De Anda's body on Sunday.

"They will be with him the whole time until the day of his service," said Martinez.

It is not yet known when De Anda will be transported back to the Central Coast, but the Fresno County Sheriff's Office is working with the family and authorities in Santa Barbara to move the body in the coming days.

The fire department is looking to raise money for De Anda's family. If you would like to donate, click here.
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