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Station 19 Had Fans Mourning Pruitt Herrera's Death All Over Again In Season 5 Premiere

Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the Station 19 Season 5 premiere “Phoenix From the Flame.”

Station 19 had a lot to unpack with its Season 5 opener, as we were updated on the aftermath of Maya and Carina’s wedding 10 months later, and in a fictional post-pandemic world, no less. And while viewers explored what the future might hold for some of the Seattle firefighters — including big relationship changes for Andy and Sullivan and Vic and Theo — one emotional event had us all looking back, as we grieved the death of former Capt. Pruitt Herrera all over again with the loss of Engine 19.

“Phoenix From the Flame” took place against the backdrop of Phoenix Fair, which was later described on Grey’s Anatomy as Seattle’s very own Burning Man. A guy high on 'shrooms stole Engine 19 — thanks to the hapless (and sexist) new captain Beckett — and flipped it on its side. Despite several warnings and the presence of fire jugglers, Capt. Beckett ignored the fuel leaking from the truck, and, you guessed it, Engine 19 exploded. The firefighters from 19, including Andy (who was reassigned to Station 23 at the time of Maya’s demotion) watched as the dedication to Miguel Sandoval's Pruitt Herrera went up in flames.

It was a loss that hit Station 19 fans unexpectedly hard. Meeting this new, awful fire captain and seeing Andy in a different fire house only added to the pain when we saw the “In loving memory of Capt. Pruitt Herrera” emblem burning on the side of the firetruck. Some Twitter users took Engine 19’s destruction personally. 

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Back in Season 3, Pruitt Herrera was suffering from terminal cancer and sacrificed himself at the scene of a fire to save the firefighters’ lives, including his daughter Andy. Watching Andy witness the destruction of her father’s memorial was too much for some fans. 

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New Capt. Beckett only made the situation worse, saying he never understood the sentimentality for “a big hunk of metal.” What’s this guy’s problem? Did he not notice the big Pruitt Herrera sticker on the side? Why didn't HE get set on fire? Fans were unimpressed to say the least. 

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Beckett suggested more than once that the firefighters needed to get over it because they’d just get a new rig. He pointed out that a day with no fatalities is a great day. He’s not wrong there, of course, but some on Twitter wondered how he could be so oblivious to understanding why everyone was so upset.

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The callback to Pruitt Herrera marks what will likely be a huge arc for Andy in Season 5. In talking to new buddy Theo Ruiz, Andy broke down over everything that had been lost since her father’s death — her best friend, her station, her engine, her marriage. But Theo pointed out how surviving all of that showed her strength.

And you’re still standing. You know what that means? It means you’re the phoenix. You rise!

Please, please, please give me more of this new Andy and Theo friendship! Station 19 airs at 8 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2021 Fall TV Schedule so you don’t miss the premieres of any of your favorite shows.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.