Hundreds honor CAL FIRE Captain Stacy Hamilton killed in Merced County crash

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- While the colors were marched in, the CAL FIRE Pipes and Drum Band played "Balmoral and My Land."

Ushered in by a sea of blue, Captain Hamilton's widow and two sons were escorted in by official CAL FIRE SUV's.

RELATED: CAL FIRE captain killed in Merced County crash

Just four days before he died, a picture of the Captain was taken inside the cockpit. It shows where he sat on the plane. His job was to direct the air attack.

"Fire Captain Hamilton's day-to-day job at CAL FIRE is flying an air attack plane," said Batt. Chief Seth Brown. "What that is is one of our smaller aircraft. It doesn't drop retardant or drop water on the fires; it is in charge of all the other aircraft on large and small wildland fires."

Captain Hamilton lead crews in some of California's biggest wildland fires, including the Ferguson Fire, RIM Fire and countless others.

Monday, he was also remembered as a family man. When he was away from the fire lines, he enjoyed snow skiing and traveled around the world to great ski destinations. He was also a devoted dad to two teenage sons, Ian and Logan.

"He had many heroic accomplishments while fighting fires for the state of California, but his biggest heroic accomplishment was raising his two sons at home," Brown said.

One of his family's last memories of him came two days before the deadly crash when they celebrated his son's high school graduation.

Hamilton was getting into the busy summer season, which meant most of his time was away from home.

Monday, the helicopter he used to fly in was brought over and on display as a final tribute to him.

Although he lived in Fresno County, he worked out of the Columbia Air Attack Base, which meant long hours commuting to and from work.

It's unclear what caused the deadly crash outside Merced off Snelling Road. He was wearing his seatbelt when his car veered off the road and flipped at least once. CHP officers are still investigating the cause.

Captain Hamilton is being laid to rest in a private ceremony.
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