Fallen Heroines


   Tonya Burns, Firefighter

Los Angeles County (CA) Fire Department

Nov 22, 1960 - Aug 12, 2009

Cause of Death:  Long time illness.

Additional Information: Survived by husband; 2 children; 6 siblings. She had over 21 years of service as a LA County Firefighter Specialist, one of the first African-American women firefighters in LA. In 2004, Burns was inducted into the Chico Sports Hall of Fame.       Guestbook | Service Program ( Front ) ( Back ) Survived by husband; 2 children; 6 siblings. She had over 21 years of service as a LA County Firefighter Specialist, one of the first African-American women firefighters in LA.

   Racheal Wilson, Firefighter/Paramedic

 Baltimore City (MD) Fire Department

 LODD - February 8, 2007

Age:  29

Cause of Death:  Wilson collapsed during a training exercise that her department was conducting  in a group of rowhouses. She was later transported to the Maryland Shock and Trauma Center where she succumbed to her injuries.

Additional Information: The mother of two, Wilson was a firefighter-paramedic in training and had begun her training in November.


Crystal Golden-Jefferson, Firefighter/Paramedic

Los Angeles County (CA) Fire Department 

LODD - July 20, 2005  

Age: 41

Cause of Death: Complications associated with the development of work-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

Additional Information:  A mother of one daughter and a 19-year veteran, she was the first female hired by the City of Inglewood (CA) Fire Department, and the third African-American female in the  LA County Fire Department.  The Crystal Golden-Jefferson Furniture Safety & Fire Prevention Act (AB 706), named in her honor, updates California's furniture fire safety standards to deliver equivalent fire safety without the use of the most toxic, cancer-causing fire retardants.


   Jaime Foster, Firefighter

City of Los Angeles (CA) Fire Department

LODD - August 14, 2004

Age:  25 

Cause of Death:    The first probationary member and the first woman to die in the Line-of-Duty on the Los Angeles Fire Department.  As companies were clearing a working fire incident, Firefighter Foster jumped on to the tailboard of the engine to assist in backing the apparatus out of a cul-de-sac.   She fell to the street and lay motionless.  The engine slowly backed over her upper body and did not stop until her lifeless body appeared in front of the apparatus.  Firefighter Foster was declared deceased at Tarzana Hospital.  Foster was assigned to Light Force 73 and was just completing the third of a four month of training period. 

Additional Information:   Jamie Foster was born in Inglewood, the second of three sisters.  While working in the emergency room  one of her patients, believed to be a firefighter with a broken leg, inspired her to become a firefighter.


  Brenda D. Cowan, Lieutenant

Lexington (KY) Fire Department

LODD - February 13, 2004

Age:  Unknown

Cause of Death:  On the first tour of duty after being formally promoted to Lieutenant, Cowan was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call.

Additional Information:  The first A 12-year veteran and the first African-American and Lexington Fire Department female career firefighter to die in the line of duty.  The daughter of the Reverend Tabb Frank Scott Cowan Sr. and Ella Irene Dawson Cowan, she is also survived by five siblings.

In March 2005 the Brenda D. Cowan Act, Senate Bill 217, unanimously passed the Kentucky Senate.  The bill would amend KRS 508.025, relating to assault in the third degree, to provide that a person is guilty of assault in the third degree when he causes or attempts to cause physical injury to emergency medical services personnel, organized fire department members, and rescue squad personnel.




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