Murrieta Fire & Rescue reports death of firefighter

Murrieta Fire & Rescue veteran Dean Hale died on Friday, Nov. 22 after a long battle with cancer. Courtesy of MFR

MURRIETA – Murrieta Fire & Rescue on Friday, Nov. 22 announced the death of firefighter Dean Hale early this morning following a long battle with job-related cancer. 

Hale served in the city of Murrieta since 2007 after working 17 years for the city of Alhambra Fire Department. He graduated from Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights in 1986.

“(Hale) proudly served as Local 3540 president for six years,” according to a social media post made by Murrieta Fire & Rescue. “Dean was a beloved husband, father, brother, friend and fireman. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family.”

Murrieta Fire & Rescue Chief David Lantzer said he was “truly heartbroken” by Hale’s death. 

“We have lost not only a beautiful human being and brother today, but we’ve lost one of God’s angels on earth,” Lantzer said. “Dean Hale was selfless to the core; I never heard him complain about his condition; he insisted on coming to work when he struggled even to walk without falling. Dean Hale embodied what it means to be a Murrieta firefighter, and I can only hope we can emulate him at the level he has set for us. I know my people … and I know we can.”

Former Murrieta City Councilmember Alan Long, who helped organize first-ever Murrieta Hilltop Festival in September to benefit Hale and his family’s fight with the disease, commented on Hale’s passing. 

“There isn’t a word or phrase that can accurately describe Dean’s contribution to our community,” Long said. “He loved our community, provided for us when needed, and kept us safe through his job as a Firefighter. There is no better example of ‘Service before self’ than the life of Dean Hale!”

Organized by the Murrieta Firefighters Association, the live concert event at Heritage Hills in Murrieta was a sold-out event. 

In his own words, Hale described the battle he was fighting on a GoFundMe page created by the association to help pay for alternative treatments for the disease that was threatening his life.

“I was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2008, following an annual physical,” Hale wrote in a statement. “Soon after, a test revealed it to be Stage 4, nonsmall cell lung cancer.”

After months of treatment and long drives to and from Santa Monica, Hale was told he was cancer-free, but it was not for long. 

Nine months later, he found out the cancer had returned to his neck and brain. Again, after half a year of treatment, he beat it.

Then, in 2018, he found out he was suffering from edema in his brain due to all the radiation, and cancer had appeared on his spine. 

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at The Bridge Church, 38801 Calistoga Drive in Murrieta and will be open to the public. 

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at