Lodi mourns death of firefighter Chris Lord
The 26-member Lodi Fire Department is remembering 25-year-old Chris Lord, the first active-duty firefighter killed in decades, just as much for his sense of duty as his sense of humor.
“He was always there. When the alarm went off, he was always there,” Lodi Fire Chief Bobby Annen said. “And it’s going to be a huge void to fill.”
“We just joked around a lot. And laughed a lot,” firefighter Mike Phillips said. “Having him down here was like having a really good buddy. Someone you could always count on. Someone who you could always look next to in the truck and know he’s got your back.”
Lord died Monday after falling 60 feet at a McGann construction site. In addition to firefighting, Lord had also spent the last three years working as a carpenter.
“Just a pit that sits in your stomach. A little emptiness,” Phillips said. “You don’t think you’re going to lose a friend and a fellow firefighter that young, that sudden.”
Lord’s humor and tall presence consistently helped lighten the mood, even during recent rope training. Department members said what makes this loss even more devastating is instead of preparing to attend Lord’s wedding, they are now preparing to support his family through his funeral.
“Not only did I lose a firefighter and a brother on the fire department. I feel like I lost a family member,” Annen said. “I don’t even want to move the stuff from his locker at this point. I just want to leave everything as is.”
Annen said his department has not experienced an active-duty loss for at least three decades, and said they are not only planning a funeral procession but also a scholarship in Lord’s name to inspire future firefighters.