CONEJOS COUNTY, Colo. — A career firefighter from Conejos County died after responding to a grassland fire on Sunday.
Harold Joe Cordova, 83, died after working the fire, according to Rodney King, Conejos County director of Emergency Management.
King said Cordova was called out to a grassland fire near Manassa, a small statutory town in southern Colorado, to help with protecting structures on Sunday. Sometime that afternoon, Cordova arrived at the scene, but wasn't feeling well and went back home. For an unknown reason later that day, his family called 911 for him.
He died later that day at the Conejos County Hospital in La Jara, according to his obituary.
Cordova worked with the Central Conejos Fire Protection District (CCFPD) and Manassa Fire Department for more than 65 years, King said. He started as a firefighter when he was 18 years old and was recently serving on the CCFPD's fire board.
He was a lifetime resident of Manassa, having been born in the town on Nov. 11, 1938.
In his early career, he worked as a mechanic for Donald's Service in Manassa before he started C&B Auto Repair in 1983.
"Harold was also a true dedicated member of the Central Conejos Fire Protection District, Manassa Fire Department, for 66 years. He was the longest-serving member and was the president of the Fire Board. Harold also operated his farm and ranch and loved his animals like they were family," the obituary reads. "Harold had a good sense of humor and had a name for everybody. He was always smiling. In his younger years, he enjoyed snowmobile riding in the mountains. Above all, Harold loved his family."
According to his obituary, he married Maria Perfecta Chavez on Nov. 11, 1978.
He is survived by Chavez and his children: Bobby Cordova of Manassa, Yvonne (Alan) Cordova of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Beverly (Lyle) Cordova of Alamosa, J.R. (Tami) Cordova of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Patricia (Alan) Turner of Pueblo West, Brian Cordova of Los Lunas, New Mexico, and Anthony (Cassidy) Cordova of Belen, New Mexico.
He is also survived by his siblings, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and step-granddaughters.
Contributions in his memory can be sent to the Central Conejos Fire Protection District, P.O. Box 686, Manassa, CO, 81141. Contact Local Assistance State Team if you would like to bring an apparatus for the processional.