Search Suspended for Lost Firefighter

Officials Say They’ve Done Everything They Can Do

At 6 p.m. on Friday, June 25, the five-day search for Sean Daniel Fleming was suspended, according to officials in a press release.

On Saturday, June 19, Fleming — a 32-year-old Vandenberg firefighter from Lompoc — parked his vehicle at Gaviota State Beach and took his kayak out into the ocean to fish. When Fleming failed to report for work on Monday, his father filed a missing person’s report.

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On June 21, a search party was deployed, led by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies, County Search and Rescue, and County Fire. On June 22, Fleming’s backpack and kayak were found floating in the water. Later that day, the Vandenberg Air Force Base fire department took operational control of the search.

The search brought together 10 different local agencies, with emergency response personnel from all along the Central Coast. By air and by water, they covered 170 square miles of ocean, a distance spanning west to Point Conception and east to the Ventura County Line, according to the press release.

Dan Ardoin, Vandenberg AFB Fire Department division chief, said in the press release, “Even though the search has been suspended, Sean will not be forgotten … We’ve got a very tight-knit community — we’ll remain vigilant and we ask people throughout the area for their vigilance in identifying anything that may help us recover Sean.”

Flyers have been distributed throughout the county, urging citizens to call in with any information that might lead to Fleming’s recovery.

Wayne Seda, assistant fire chief and incident commander of the search, said in the press release, “We’ve got a sense of closure in knowing we’ve done everything we could do, but closure won’t be fully realized until we can bring Sean home.”

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