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Santa Cruz County volunteer recruit firefighter dies during training exercise, family starts gofundme

BEN LOMOND, Calif. (KION-TV) Update March 9, 2023, at 1:18 p.m.- The family of a Santa Cruz County firefighter hopeful who died in late Feb. is asking the public to help with funeral costs.

Daniel Lamothe, 38, died during a joint firefighter academy training session at the Ben Lomond Training Center. Daniel's mother Kathy Lamothe says the loss of her amazing son and only child is more than she can bear in a gofundme post.

"For many years he dreamed of becoming a fire fighter-especially after the CZU fire in the Santa Cruz mountains," said Kathy. "He wanted to give back to the community he was born in and raised. In January 2023 he began his training. We lost him just 7 weeks later."

She goes on to write that the family's world went dark on Feb. 19. They are asking for funds to help with funeral expenses, bereavement, and the unknown expenses of closing down his affairs.

"Dan was well-loved by his friends and family," said Kathy. "Just google his name and you’ll read beautiful tributes in his honor-including a heartfelt candlelight vigil held near the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz."

You can click here to help donate.


Santa Cruz County said that a Santa Cruz County Fire Department volunteer recruit passed away during a training exercise on Sunday.

Daniel Lamothe, 38, of Santa Cruz became medically distressed during a joint firefighter academy training session at the Ben Lomond Training Center. The county said Lamothe received immediate medical attention from trained medical personnel on the scene, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

“We mourn the passing of one of our brethren,” County Fire Chief Nate Armstrong said. “Daniel wanted to be a firefighter so that he could give back to the community where he was raised and in which he lived. His commitment to public service serves as a model for us all. We grieve along with his friends and family for this sudden and tragic loss.”

Photo Courtesy of Stellar Corpses.

The county said that an autopsy will confirm his cause of death.

A band called Stellar Corpses and the county confirmed Dan Lamothe was a co-founder of the band.

So incredibly sad to hear about the passing of our former bassist and co-founder, Dan “Mothman” Lamothe. There’s no words to describe the flood of emotions right now. Life is already so short, but Dan went way to soon.

He was a close friend for many many years and we went through a lot together. I will always remember him as the 16 year old psychobilly kid I met at a Tiger Army show at the Santa Cruz Vets Hall. I asked him if he wanted to start a band with me and a few years later we got to share the stage with them.

So many amazing moments we experienced together playing music with the bands that inspired us. Our dreams and music and memories will never die. Rest in Peace my friend.

Stellar Corpses
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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23


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