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Valley mourns loss of ‘proud’ firefighter who lost battle with cancer

Keith Hernandez, Kings County Fire Apparatus Engineer, lost a battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer that attacks the muscle.
Keith Hernandez, Kings County Fire Apparatus Engineer, lost a battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer that attacks the muscle.

The Kings County Fire Department announced the death of one of its firefighters Saturday night.

Keith Hernandez worked with the Kings County Fire Department for the last five years as an apparatus engineer. He died Saturday morning after a battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of soft tissue cancer that attacks the muscle, the department said. He was 30.

Hernandez was a Clovis East High School graduate and had worked with several fire agencies, including seasonal jobs with Cal Fire Sonoma Lake Napa Unit, Fresno County Fire Protection District and Clovis Fire Department as an explorer.

Hernandez died at Stanford Medical Center, the department said. He is survived by his wife, two young children, his parents, two brothers and a sister.

“Keith Hernandez was proud to be a firefighter and loved his career,” said Clay Smith, Kings County Fire chief, in a news release announcing the death. “He will be deeply missed by family, friends and colleagues alike.”

A procession will take place Sunday starting at 9 a.m. from Stanford Medical Center to Salser and Dillard Funeral Chapel in Visalia.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a general assignment reporter at The Fresno Bee. He studies journalism at California State University, Fresno, where he once served as editor of the student newspaper. Before that, he was the editor of the Fresno City College student newspaper. He grew up in the central San Joaquin Valley.


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