Funeral mass for Porterville Fire Capt. Ray Figueroa held in Delano

DELANO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A hearse carrying the body of fallen Porterville Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa arrived at St. Mary's Catholic Church just before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Waiting there for him were friends, family and fellow firefighters from around the state.

Figueroa, along with firefighter Patrick Jones, died battling an out of control blaze at the Porterville library one week ago.

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"When one person hurts, we all hurt, and this is just so tragic," says Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman. "These two firefighters were so young, and we just reach out our hearts to (them) as well as their families."

Inside the church, Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno commended Figueroa's commitment to his craft, saying that he was inspired to make a difference in the world after the events of September 11, 2001.

"He worked very hard, he studied so hard and became a captain," Bishop Brennan said. "And you don't become a captain by accident. You just don't."

"It takes a special kind of person to do the things that they do, and he wouldn't have it any other way," says Edmundo Figueroa, Ray's second cousin.

After the funeral, a short procession led Figueroa to his final resting place at North Kern Cemetery.

"I've never seen anything like this," Edmundo said. "I've never seen the outpouring of love and respect and just admiration for an individual. I've never seen it. And I'm proud to say that's my little cousin."

Outside of work, Edmundo says his cousin was a great father and family man. He was only 35 and leaves behind two children and a large extended family.

A funeral for firefighter Patrick Jones will take place on Thursday morning in Tulare. A memorial service for both firefighters will take place on Friday morning in Porterville.
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