• Thu. Jan 21st, 2021

63-year-old volunteer firefighter who fought to contain the California wildfires alongside her son dies on the job


Sep 11, 2020
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“Calm, steady, and always there would be adjectives to describe her.”

Diana Jones will be remembered as someone who always found ways to help people. At the age where most people kick back and relax, easing into the retirement life, Diana joined the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department in Texas and joined hands with the firefighters working day and night tirelessly.

The 63-year-old would help combat the California wildfires right alongside her son, Ian Shelly, a captain in the same Texas-based unit. When the state of California was trying to bring the wildfires under control, the mother and son put themselves right alongside other firefighters to save areas of the state that are up in flames.

“In five years she became both an accomplished firefighter and earned her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification,” said the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook post. “Diana was a servant, she served us and our community in so many ways without seeking recognition. Our Chaplin’s church provides a lunch every Tuesday for area first responders. After attending a few times, instead of taking her rightful place being served at the table she started bringing home cooked dishes and served other first responders. That was our Diana Jones.”

While Diana was on duty and working on the Tatham Fire within the August Complex, a fatal accident took place on August 31 while she, along with other firefighters tried to put out a fire, according to People. When the fire became more active, Diana and the others tried to escape. But after the truck was put in reverse, the vehicle plummeted 15 feet down an embankment, reported TODAY.

Diana was trapped in the vehicle after the truck slammed into a tree while flames burned around them. One of the firefighters was able to walk away from the accident unharmed while another suffered burns and received the requirement treatment. However, Diana lost her life while on duty. 

In the time she spent working as a volunteer firefighter, Diana showed how she was always ready and willing to help others. Cresson Fire Chief, Ron Becker spoke to TODAY Parents about Diana and said, “Calm, steady, and always there would be adjectives to describe her.” The chief added, “…Diana was always looking for ways to help or serve people. She did not put herself first. She was a pretty good cook and would take dishes over to this luncheon to be served when the whole thing was set up to serve people like her, but that’s not what she did. It’s so many things that we’re discovering in the last few days.”

Amazed by how she was able to do all that she did in her 60s, Ron Becker added, “When she would go off to the West, there would be things that weren’t getting done that we would realize she did. Diana was in her late 50s, when most people would say, ‘It’s time for us to sit back and enjoy life.’ Instead, she takes up being a volunteer firefighter and gets her EMT certification at the age where most people are saying, ‘Now it’s time for me to be taken care of.’ All you have to do is look at her age, see what she was doing and say — wow.”

It was decided that on September 9, the fallen firefighter’s body would be flown from California back to her home in Texas. Honoring Diana for her selfless nature and for dying while giving her service, the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department, according to CBS DFW, voted that the training facility will be named after her.

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