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Friends and family remember Los Banos Firefighter

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A North Valley firefighter who died following a tragic crash was laid to rest Saturday. Andrew Maloney was riding his motorcycle in Los Banos when investigators say he was hit by a drunk driver.

Nearly 500 people attended Saturday's morning's service, including many people who worked with Andrew during the eleven years he served as a firefighter.

The sound of bagpipes rang out as Andrew Maloney's fellow firefighters carried his casket into the O'banion Auditorium Saturday. Inside, pictures of the 29-year-old sat alongside a pair of badges, and his Cal Fire uniform.

Firefighting was just one of several passions Andrew had, something his only brother, Matthew spoke fondly of. "Andrew's path in life has led him to many places few of us will ever see, whether it was deep underwater high upon the water, or in the landscape of a burning fire."

Andrew started his firefighting career in Los Banos back in 2000. Most recently, he worked for Cal Fire in Hornitos. But, his promising life was cut short this past Sunday when he died from injuries he received in a crash days earlier.

The California Highway Patrol says Andrew was riding his motorcycle on Highway 165 near Pioneer Road in Los Banos when 24-year-old Amie Chick made a left turn right in front of him. She was arrested and booked for suspicion of driving under the influence.

"All these fatality accidents we go to are tragic, this one is just as tragic. it's just hit a little too close to home for us," Captain Mark Simmons said.

Andrew's death has been just as difficult for Ryan Payton. She and Andrew dated for three years during their time together at Los Banos High School. "Part of me has died. Part of my childhood is gone. I'll just never forget all of the beautiful things we shared."

And neither will so many others, who say the way Andrew lived his life will stay with them, even after his death. "It's a tremendous loss, not only to the public, but to the county and to the nation," Mark Perez said.

Following Saturday morning's service, family and friends attended a private burial at the Los Banos Cemetery.

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Tags:
los banos, merced county, local, shannon handy
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