Long Beach fire regional training center renamed in honor of Capt. David Rosa

The legacy and ultimate sacrifice made by Long Beach Fire Capt. David Rosa exactly one year ago today was memorialized this morning with the renaming of the department’s regional training center in East Long Beach where he helped shape so many recruits over the years.

A member of the fire department for 17 years and a captain for the last six years, Rosa’s last service to his city took place on the morning of June 25, 2018 when he was fatally shot while responding to a fire at a Downtown senior apartment building.

The 45-year-old husband and father of two from San Juan Capistrano was the first firefighter killed in the line of duty in Long Beach in 44 years.

On the one-year anniversary of his death, family and friends and the greater Long Beach community gathered at the training center to remember a man who was respected and loved by so many.

Over a hundred supporters honored the fallen Fire Captain David Rosa as the department renamed the Long Beach Fire Department’s Regional Training Center the “Long Beach Fire Department Captain David Rosa Regional Training Center.” Photo by Thomas Cordova.

“I take comfort in knowing that from this day forward no one will pass this entry without seeing the name of Fire Capt. David Rosa and remembering the life he lived,” said Fire Chief Xavier Espino.

Espino described Rosa as “a gift from God who made us all better people just by being in his presence.” 

Fire Chief Xavier Espino wears a black band over his badge to honor fallen Fire Captain David Rosa. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

The chief recalled when Rosa would tell a story he had told so many times before but would still get those around him to cry the whole way through “because he couldn’t hold it together while he was trying to get the story out.”

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Lynley Rosa said while her husband would get embarrassed and upset with himself for getting choked up at times—whether it was speaking about their two sons or at the end of the Little League season in his hometown where he served in part as umpire and coach—she saw it as tenderness born of love for those around him.

“I would encourage you to continue to be authentic, not to worry about showing emotions since it conveyed the value of those relationships,” said Rosa, who read aloud her letter to her husband before the crowd.

Captain David Rosa’s wife, Lynley sits between her two sons Sam, left and Alec, right, as the Long Beach Fire Department honored the fallen fire captain. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

Rosa described her husband as a man of deep faith in Christ who treated everyone with respect and kindness. A man with genuine love for others and who gave his best in everything he did.

He was someone who would come home after a long shift offering to help others in any way he could. He would check on his sister, plan family outings, visit his parents.

“You’re more than a death in the line of duty, more than a tragedy, more than a fire captain, or a husband, father, son, brother and friend,” Rosa said. “You’re a man whose daily decisions have had a lasting impact on us all. We love you forever.”

Long Beach Fire Department Deputy Chief Matt Gruneisen hugs Captain David Rosa’s wife, Lynley after she spoke to over a hundred supporters. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

Captain David Rosa’s wife Lynley walks in front of the new name of the Long Beach Fire Department training center. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

Captain David Rosa’s son, Alec, listens as his mother Lynley speaks as the Long Beach Fire Department honored the fallen fire captain. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.