Barry Rezac, whose exploits as a Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighter earned him the nickname “Nine Lives Rezac,” has died.
Rezac, 57, died Sept. 27 at St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley of end-stage renal disease and cardiopulmonary arrest, said his wife Sandra Rezac.
Rezac underwent a double-lung transplant in 2008 after developing pulmonary fibrosis which causes scarring of the lungs. Doctors said he developed the illness while on the job.
He retired in 2009.
Even as his health began to fail, Sandra Rezac said her husband never lost his passion for firefighting and saving lives.
“We would see fire trucks going down the street and his eyes would light up,” Sandra Rezac said. “It was his life.”
During his nearly 30-year career as a firefighter, Rezac earned numerous awards and accolades for his heroic acts.
Perhaps the best known incident, which took place December 1997, Rezac acted as a human shield, stepping between two Rottweilers charging a family with children, beating the dogs back with his fists.