Fallen Phoenix Fire captain laid to rest

- A Phoenix Fire captain who died after an accident nearly a decade ago left her seriously injured was laid to rest Tuesday.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral service of Crystal Rezzonico Tuesday at the Christ Church of the Valley in Peoria to pay respects to the fallen firefighter. Rezzonico was remembered Tuesday as a true professional who loved her career, and also remembered for being a devoted single mother of two sons.

"Crystal loved being a firefighter," said Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner. "Her favorite role was mother to her two sons, Cutter and Austin."

"She helped those in need," said Cutter Pleasant, Rezzonico's son. "I watched my mom grow in the fire department, from a booter, firefighter, engineer, fire captain, and now hero."

During her nearly two decade career with Phoenix Fire, Rezzonico rose through the ranks. From her beginnings as a cadet, she was a fire captain who suffered life-threatening injuries during an on-duty crash.

"The prognosis from the emergency team was grim, but they didn't know Crystal. She was a fighter with the heart of a lion, and fight she did," said Kalkbrenner.

Rezzonico passed away on February 18. She is the first female firefighter in Phoenix Fire Department history to die, as a result of injuries in the line of duty.

During the funeral procession, Rezzonico's flag-draped coffin was carried by a Phoenix Fire Department engine. Rezzonico's family said they are grateful for the first responders, doctors, and nurses who helped save her life on the day of the accident. Rezzonico was able to return to duty, a little over a year after she was injured, and served until her medical retirement.

"I will miss my mom," said Pleasant. "She gave my brother and I a great life. I am thankful for these last eight years."

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