On the night of January 28, 1981, the L.A. City Fire Department
Task Force 60 in North Hollywood responded to a structure fire at a restaurant. There was four of us up on the roof. And all of a sudden i heard a big and i felt a big shake, and I looked back and
the roof just dropped from the north side. Here’s the parapet, here’s the roof and it went just like that. This particular fire changed the course of a lot of people’s lives because it was set by an arsonist and it took the life of one of our own brothers, L.A. City apparatus operator Thomas Taylor, that night I could hear him yelling, i knew he was in big trouble, and one of the guys that had scrambled up the aerial when they knew what happened, he reached down his hand and he couldn’t hang on to it. It was just too much weight and the gloves were all wet, and he dropped and that was it. A captain met me on the apparatus floor and said I’d like for you to come to the office. They said there’s been an accident and your brother’s involved. I finally pressed this one captain that I know, “Just don’t sugar coat this thing. Is he dead or not?” And he goes, “Yeah, he’s dead.” So it was a real bad day. To kill an L.A. City firefighter or any firefighter for that matter due to arson … due to a crime It just seems to take it to another level. A guy named Mario Catanio did it. I mean he actually lit the fire. He was contracted. This restaurant was failing. They were losing money. It was costing them $4,000 a month to keep it open. They gave him $2,500 and the keys to the restaurant and he says parting that evening, “Tomorrow you won’t be
in the restaurant business anymore.” In my opinion, he’s a hired assassin. That’s all he is. He got 25 to Life and
he started going to parole hearings in 2004. He wasn’t even at the 25-year mark.
He was at the minimum. Coming up on June 28th (2013) there’ll be a parole hearing in Blythe at Chuckwalla Valley State Prison. We’re urging you to please write a letter to the Parole Board urging them to keep Mario Catanio behind bars. They’ve convicted three arsonists
in the last couple of years where people had died They’re getting the death penalty, and Mario didn’t. He’s nowhere near, in my book of serving his time. He affected so many lives. Tom Taylor is dead. Two boys ended up without a father. A wife without a husband. A brother and father broken hearted. We want to send a message to other arsonists that firefighters don’t forget. That firefighters band together and will always come through for one another. We’ve got to make dire consequences for the people that commit these acts. They’re going to have to pay for their sins.