Tony Nunes
Veteran Berkeley firefighter Tony Nunes who died in an off-duty accident on Feb. 23, 2014. Photo: Berkeley Fire Department

[See details of the memorial service for Tony Nunes at the foot of this story.]

Berkeley firefighters are mourning the loss of their colleague, 54-year-old Tony Nunes, who died over the weekend in an accident on his family property in Martinez.

Nunes, who would have celebrated his 28th year with the department today, was killed on Sunday Feb. 23 after the tractor he was driving overturned and rolled down a steep hill at about 6:40 p.m. He died at the scene, according to California Highway Patrol who are investigating the accident.

Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong said Berkeley firefighters were informed of the details of his passing today and the department is focused on helping to support the needs of Nunes’ family which has a legacy of public service.

“It’s going to be a tough week for the fire department,” Chief Dong said Monday. “As we grieve we encourage people to take a moment and think about Tony’s family.”

Dong described Nunes as having a personality that would always light up a room. He always had a smile on his face, he said.

Nunes had been assigned to Berkeley Fire Station No. 7 on Shasta Road in the North Berkeley hills for the past decade.

Flags at all the city’s stations were flying at half mast today in his memory.

Nunes’ captain, Warren Davis, said Nunes was particularly good at handling fire station visits. “He would always step up and do show and tell with the kids,” he said. “He truly loved it.”

Nunes came from a firefighting family. His father was in the Contra Costa fire department, as were two of his brothers. Capt. John Nunes, served more than 30 years with Contra Costa fire department before he died of leukemia in 2009, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. His brother, Lawrence Nunes, retired as a battalion chief from the department in 2011. Another brother works for East Bay Regional Parks and a nephew is at Cal Fire.

Nunes came to Berkeley in 1986 from the Piedmont Fire Department where he served for seven years. Prior to that, he was a reserve with the Contra Costa Fire Protection District. He was one of the first firefighter paramedics in Berkeley, according to Dong. He was also a water rescue swimmer, an above-ground water system expert, and managed the department’s fitness equipment, Dong said.

Nunes is survived by his two adult children. A funeral and memorial service have yet to be scheduled.

Update, 03.05.14: The life of Anthony Frank Nunes will be celebrated on Sunday, March 9, at 12 noon, at the Haas Pavillion at UC. Berkeley. Participants are asked to wear their favorite spring colors, as this is a celebration. Services will begin promptly at 12 o’clock noon and will be followed by a reception at the Faculty Club (also on the UC Berkeley campus). In lieu of flowers please make donations to the B Walker Ranch in Tony’s name.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...