LUSD remembers teacher, family lost in boat fire

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LUSD remembers teacher, family lost in boat fire

Genasis Ramirez and Gabriel Porras

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September 2 was poised to be a relaxed one with thousands of Lincoln Unified students returning to class after a three day weekend.  However, things were amiss across the district the day after Labor Day and a beloved teacher was gone.  

“She was vibrant, amazing, connected with every student” Said Sierra Middle School teacher, Scott Tatum about former teacher Angela Quitasol, “Just an amazing individual so it’s very tough for our staff and students.”

Angela Quitasol, an LUSD teacher was one of five Stockton natives and residents on board the Conception Scuba Dive Boat when it caught fire early Labor Day morning,  

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. 

Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles Long Beach watch standers heard a mayday call of the boat fire. In the emergency call that was made, a man said there were 39 people aboard. The boat was on fire, quickly spreading. The cause of the fire still remains unknown. The Federal Bureau of Investigators and the National Transportation Safety Board are now re-watching videos, and looking at pictures to seek a cause for this tragic incident. 

The fire ignited on the boat around 3:15 a.m on September 2 killing 33 passengers and one crew member. The dive boat, which was docked off of Southern California’s Santa Cruz Islands, began sinking into the water after the fire, while taking many precious lives away. 

Five crew members survived as they were above deck when the blaze broke out. The crew members told investigators that the flames made it impossible to try to rescue passengers. The cause of death is believed to be the smoke inhalation.

On Monday, word spread that Angela Quitasol, Evan Quitasol, Micheal Quitasol, Nicole Quitasol and Fernsia Sison, a family of five, were on board the boat and feared dead.  Those fears were unfortunately later confirmed by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.  

“I was in a state of shock and disbelief, just heartbroken” Said Julissa Garcia, cousin of the Quitasols.  “They were nurses, they were teachers, they loved the environment, they loved the community, they loved each other” 

Angela was a science teacher at Sierra Middle School.  She was well known by many including staff members with The Lincolnian who have described her as strong, kind, and caring. 

Strong, kind, and caring, how Angela and her family will be remembered.