From Fred Cox, Fire Chief
On Saturday, February 6, 2021, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District will be conducting a Funeral Procession through parts of Rancho Santa Fe and surrounding communities in honor of Fire Captain Chris Mertz. Chris, who worked at Fire station 5, contracted COVID-19 and recently died from complications of the disease. Captain Mertz faithfully served Rancho Santa Fe and surrounding communities for 30 years.
The Celebration of Life service will be private due to COVID-19 restrictions; however, if any resident would like to honor Chris’s 30 years of service to the community, please feel free to stand along the procession route and wave – waving a American flag would be nice.
Click here for the route: All Rancho Santa Fe Fire engines will be participating in the event which will start at the Fairbanks Fire Station at 9:50 am. The procession should reach the RSF Village close to 10:00 am. Rancho Cielo, Crosby, and Lakes on Del Dios Hwy at approximately 10:15 am. If you are a resident of Harmony Grove or Elfin Forest, the procession will pass through Harmony Grove Road and Harmony Grove Village parkway around 10:25 am. Please note the times are approximate.
All six Rancho Santa Fe Fire stations will be covered by our partner agencies from throughout the county during the event so all our personnel can attend the service.
Click here to read the public notification. Text of notification below.
For Public Release: Line of Duty Death Notification
The Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District and Rancho Santa Fe Professional Firefighters Local 4349, are heartbroken to make notification of the loss of one of our own.
Fire Captain W. Chris Mertz, a 30-year veteran of the Rancho Santa Fe Protection Fire District, passed away on January 20, 2021 from complications of COVID-19. Chris was 54 years old and worked at RSF Fire Station 5 in Harmony Grove Village.
Chris, not only had a distinguished career here at Rancho Santa Fe, but early in life worked for Federal Fire Department – San Diego and the United States Forest Service. During his time with the Forest Service, Chris served on the Laguna Hot Shots – an elite hand crew based out of the Descanso Ranger District. Chris was still active and one of the original members of San Diego Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force 8. He was a responder to the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 and to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Chris was a member of the CSA Pipes and drums band and was an active member of IAFF Local 4349.
Our hearts go out to Chris’s family; he is survived by his wife Canli, his son Garrett, who is also a firefighter with Cal-FIRE San Diego, and his two daughters, Natalie and Roxanne, both who are proudly serving our Country in the United States Air Force.
Chris and his family are the epitome of the American ideal – people who love their country and committed their lives to serving their fellow citizens.
Captain Mertz will receive full Line of Duty Death Honors.
Donations in memory of Captain Mertz may be sent to the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Foundation https://rsf-firefoundation.org/. For further information, you can contact the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District at the above listed number.