LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Amid the devastation left behind by the Saddle Ridge Fire, one family, along with Los Angeles Park Rangers, is mourning the loss of Captain Alberto Torres.

“He’s just one of the most unselfish people that I’ve ever met,” said Torres’ son Brian Yoder. “He’s just…very giving, very gracious.”

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Torres was assigned to patrol the San Fernando Valley city parks that were affected by the Saddle Ridge Fire.

When he returned to the Park Ranger Headquarters at the Griffith Park Visitor Center on Friday, Torres said he didn’t feel well and collapsed.

He died of a massive heart attack seven hours later in Glendale Hospital.

“He was always like a rock,” Yoder said. “He wouldn’t tell us if he was feeling bad…it just felt like he was never sick.”

Torres worked for the city for nearly 45 years. Griffith Park was like a second home for him.

Helping the homeless became one of his passions. On Sept. 23, he helped lead a cleanup of homeless camps in the Sepulveda Basin.

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“We knew how much he gave to the city, and to the community, and how many people he knew and touched,” Yoder said.

Torres worked a 14-hour day on Friday. Much of it was spent at the command center at Hansen Dam.

“There was a contingent of the Torres family at the hospital and all the rangers were there too,” said Yoder.

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer paid tribute to the veteran Park Ranger, praising his decades of service to the citizen of Los Angeles: “He has left an everlasting impact on many. He has provided safety to the public, sharing his vast knowledge on plants and wildlife and his constant willingness to offer mentorship and counseling.”

 

LA City Councilwoman Nury Martinez called Torres “the epitome of what it means to be a public servant” and said he “went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our parks and open spaces are safe and accessible to the people of Los Angeles. Even last night he was working on the fires, doing what he loved and keeping us all safe. We miss him already. My heart goes out to his family, loved ones, and fellow park rangers.”

Park Ranger Chief Joe Losorelli said he can’t say for certain but doesn’t believe Torres had a history of heart issues and if he did, the fire most likely didn’t help.

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A devoted family man — Torres leaves behind three children, three grandsons, and his wife.