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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Fire-Rescue held a funeral procession Friday morning to honor a fallen firefighter.

Nick Ramirez, a veteran of several local stations and a deputy fire marshal since 2014, died at age 59 from complications of COVID-19 in February.

Friday’s procession started at an SDFD logistics facility in the Kearny Mesa area. Fire crews and other first responders drove along state Route 163, state Route 52 and state Route 67 before reaching a church in Lakeside, where two large fire trucks suspended an American flag in front of the building.

A private funeral service was planned within, according to an SDFD spokesperson.

In a Facebook post sharing the news of Ramirez’s passing, his department remembered the longtime firefighter and paramedic as “one of the most affable fire service employees around.”

The statement said that Ramirez first joined the department in 2003 and went on to work with local stations 10, 23 and 34. He later served as the deputy fire marshal for the Community Risk Reduction Division, which conducts inspections and oversees permitting issues to protect from fire and other hazards.

“He was a family man who adored his wife and two daughters,” the SDFD post reads. “His family became part of the SDFD fire family and were very involved in department and social activities.”

“Nick absolutely loved the fire service and was an outstanding paramedic,” the statement continued. “He took his responsibility of patient care very seriously and exhibited an exceptional work ethic. He treated every patient as if they were a member of his own family. His compassion knew no bounds, both with his fire family and his patients.”

“Nick had a lightning quick wit and made those around him laugh constantly. He always entered a room with a smile and never left without leaving smiles on the faces of others.”

(Photo: San Diego Fire-Rescue)

Officials said that Ramirez died at a local hospital on Feb. 16, where he was being treated for complications from the coronavirus. He was with his wife and daughters.

Before his time with SDFD, Ramirez worked for the Santee Fire Department for nine years.

“Our condolences to Nick’s family and friends as well as our partners at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department,” Santee Fire wrote on Facebook. “Nick is missed tremendously.”