Stockton Firefighter Memorial Moved Due to Repeated Vandalism

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STOCKTON -- Crews finished removing a Stockton firefighter memorial from Weber Point Thursday morning.

The Stockton Firefighters Relief Association made the difficult decision after the memorial dedicated to fallen firefighters had been repeatedly vandalized.

"Yeah, itss a very emotional day," explained Stockton Fire Captain Tony Moudaukis as he lead the demolition of the memorial he engineered. "I put all those bricks in, now we are tearing them all out."

The memorial is a tribute to the 13 fallen firefighters in the Stockton Fire Department's history, built by bricks purchased by community members who also helped fund it.

But, the SFFRA says the repeated destruction such as stolen plaques and spray painted statues have cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We tried, we tried to keep it up, but the vandalism was rampant. And then they started actually breaking the pedestal and we just couldn't have that," Moudaukis said.

Crews moved the statue in June 2017 -- firefighters removing the bricks was both the final step in demolition and the first in its relocation phase.

"The hope is to pull them out in one piece, relocate them to the new memorial and put them right back in the same place they originally were put," said Captain Rossi Zaragoza.

Though everyone regrets the need for it, many are excited for the new memorial in Victory Park.

"A lot more lighting some more decorative features ... Hagan museum and the history of the Stockton Fire Department," Zaragoza said.

The new memorial will also be in a high profile location in front of Fire house six.

"We're not going to put any fences around it because we still want kids - and adults for that matter - to be able to put their hands on the memorial. It's very sacred to us but we know it's something important to the community," Zaragoza said.

A granite plaque will be placed in Weber Point to replace the old memorial.

Anyone looking to donate can visit the SFFRA's Go Fund Me account.

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