Vista firefighter dies following bout with cancer


VISTA, Calif. (CNS) – Flags at Vista city facilities were flown at half-staff Monday in honor of a 33-year-old local firefighter/paramedic who lost his cancer battle on Sunday.

Andy Valenta, who had been with the Vista Fire Department since 2009, left behind a wife and two young daughters, according to a statement from the city of Vista.

“All of us are saddened by the death of Firefighter Valenta,” said Vista Fire Chief Ned Vander Pol. “We are keeping his family in our thoughts, as we send comfort and sympathy to his family during this time of loss.”

In addition to flying city flags at half-staff, Vista Fire Department members will be wearing mourning bands over their badges.

According to a GoFundMe page created earlier this year on behalf of his family, Valenta had been suffering from an illness for several months, and in early January was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma, which had already spread to many of his organs.

Vander Pol said, “The loss of a member of the department is a tragic loss. Andy’s legacy will be carried on to our future firefighters.”

The Vista Fire Fighters Association issued a statement saying the loss of Valenta “has left a gaping hole in the fire community and although time may heal, his lasting impact and memory will never leave us. Rest Easy Brother. We’ll take it from here.”

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