Public safety responders throughout Ventura County, the Fillmore community and residents throughout the Santa Clara River Valley are mourning the unexpected death of Fillmore Fire Chief Rigo Landeros (Pictured above).

Mutual aid, mutual loss: Fillmore
Fire Chief Rigo Landeros mourned

January 13, 2016
Santa Paula News

Public safety responders throughout Ventura County, the Fillmore community and residents throughout the Santa Clara River Valley are mourning the unexpected death of Fillmore Fire Chief Rigo Landeros, who passed away January 7 at age 51.

According to a release by Fillmore City Manager David Rowlands, “Chief Landeros was widely known and respected throughout Fillmore and the County of Ventura as an energetic and forward thinking public official who was always upbeat with a love of family, community and public service. He was instrumental in helping Fillmore work its way through the recent recessionary period and return the city’s financial picture to full solvency.”

“Rigo,” said Mayor Diane McCall, “was a friend to us all and his death is a shock to so many in our community. Our council all knew Rigo personally and professionally and Rigo’s city family is truly in mourning today.”

Landeros and the Fillmore Fire Department worked closely with the Santa Paula Fire Department with mutual aid including supporting the fundraisers of each other’s departments, making the loss a mutual one.

Said Santa Paula Fire Chief Rick Araiza Monday, “We worked extremely close together, and we basically handled and covered for each other.”

Araiza’s son Austin, who wants to follow his father in a firefighting career, was a Reserve at the Fillmore Fire Department. 

“Rigo was instrumental in getting Austin started. And, Rigo and I routinely covered each other…not only did we work together but he was a very good friend, we vacationed together,” with an upcoming fishing trip planned.

Added Araiza, “Rigo was involved in so many things in both the Fillmore and Santa Paula communities, it’s just a tragic loss…”

“The Ventura County Fire Department mourns at the passing of Fillmore Fire Chief Rigo Landeros,” read just one of the tributes posted on Facebook. “Chief Landeros was a committed public servant and a steadfast partner to Ventura County’s first responders.”

And that included needs other than fires and disaster: a former butcher, Landeros was always at the grill during community events including the annual barbecue staged last year to benefit the Christmas Toy Drive where a gift for a child was the price of dinner. 

Landeros started with the FFD Fire as a volunteer firefighter in 1998 and was appointed Fire Chief in May 2009. 

He has also served as the Acting Public Works Director since January 2010. Landeros was appointed Interim City Manager in August of 2012 and led the city until the hiring of Rowlands. 

In November 2013 Landeros was permanently promoted to Assistant City Manager and also continued his roles as Acting Public Works Director and Fire Chief. 

Prior to his tenure with the City, said Rowlands, “Landeros had achieved a highly respected status in the private sector as an executive with Gelson’s Markets,” a famed boutique grocery store chain. 

“Rigo was a true partner in the administration of our city,” noted Rowlands. “He was a true leader of our fire department, and on a personal level a great husband, father and friend. He will be greatly missed by myself and all who knew him.” 

Fillmore Councilman Manuel Minjares posted on Facebook that the death of Landeros, “Is beyond my ability to comprehend at this moment. His work ethic, love for his family, community and fire department was inspiring and a model for those committed to a life of public service. I was not able to share these words with Rigo before he passed and for that am forever regretful.”

Noted Minjares, “I will not make that mistake again and hope that whomever reads this message take a moment to tell those that have had a positive impact in your life just how appreciative you are for that.”

His wife Laura, four children and two grandchildren survive Landeros. 

Services are pending.

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