Fans of ‘Station 19,’ the spin-off of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ are very well acquainted with Miguel Sandoval’s former Captain Pruitt Herrera, who tragically falls to his death whilst saving his fellow firefighters in season 3. In season 5, fans are again brutally reminded of Herrera’s death when his memorial firetruck — Engine 19 — goes up in flames in part due to the dismissive actions of the new Captain Beckett.
Miguel Sandoval’s Captain Herrera continues to be one of the most memorable characters on the show, despite not being on-screen anymore. The other characters, particularly his daughter Andrea “Andy” Herrera, carry his memory within them like a burning fire. Viewers might be wondering: why did Miguel Sandoval leave ‘Station 19’ in the first place? What is Sandoval up to now? Here’s everything you need to know!
Why Did Miguel Sandoval’s Captain Herrera Leave Station 19?
Miguel Sandoval’s Pruitt Herrera is the former Captain of Station 19 of the Seattle Fire Department. Herrera is known for being a strong-headed and no-nonsense character. His only goal in life is to save lives and fight fires. He is a mentor to his daughter, Andy Herrera, whom he works with and promotes to lieutenant. Right from the very beginning of ‘Station 19,’ viewers are made aware that Herrera’s days are numbered — the pilot episode reveals his diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma. After a health scare, Herrera steps down from his position as captain while Andy and Jack Gibson become acting captains.
As the show progresses, Herrera’s health worsens, and treatment makes him weaker. Viewers, however, see Herrera’s attempts to contribute to his station despite it all — from working as a receptionist to handing out sage advice to the other firefighters. Later, he develops scrotal lymphoma. Therefore, it seems that Herrera’s death had been planned in advance by the writers and had been coming a long time.
A study that included 30,000 firefighters showed that they had twice the rate of mesothelioma as compared to the general population of the USA. A highly probable cause for this was exposure to asbestos. Since ‘Station 19’ faithfully represents the lives of firefighters — and is connected to the medical world of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ — it makes sense that it delves into some of the grave health issues the firefighters face in the field. Before the premiere of season 3, showrunner Krista Vernoff had even warned fans that there would be some gut-wrenching deaths.
In the twelfth episode of season 3, when several firefighters, including Andy, get trapped in a burning warehouse, Herrera decides to climb atop the roof and create an opening to let the smoke escape. The retired firefighter knows that his last act of rescue will bring about his death. And it does. Nevertheless, Herrera is celebrated for his bravery and 40-year-long firefighting career by the rest of ‘Station 19,’ and Andy organizes a virtual funeral gathering for him.
Thus, it seems that Miguel Sandoval’s Captain Herrera leaves ‘Station 19’ in the show’s bid to be realistic in its portrayal of the highs and lows of firefighting. Despite Herrera’s cancer, in season 3 he manages to carry out one last act of bravery and choose his manner of death. Additionally, his absence forces his daughter Andy to grow into her own. But from what we can tell, Miguel Sandoval left the show on good terms.
Where Is Miguel Sandoval Now?
Fans might still be reeling from Captain Herrera’s departure from the show. But Sandoval, 69, seems to be enjoying quality time with his grandson Miles, who was born in late 2020. Sandoval is not active on social media, but his daughter, actor Olivia Sandoval (‘Fargo,’ ‘For the People’), regularly uploads pictures with him. On the professional front, the acting veteran also has got his hands full with diverse projects.
Sandoval is the voice of Enrique on seasons 1 and 2 of Hulu’s adult animated sitcom ‘Solar Opposites.’ In September 2021, he virtually spoke at a cinema-based college event, elucidating his long acting career. At present, the Los Angeles-based actor is reportedly filming the movie ‘The Grotto,’ directed by Tony Award-winning Joanna Gleason. Sandoval is seemingly a part of a sci-fi film titled ‘Resilient 3D,’ although its production has been on hold for several years. However, it might not be long before Miguel Sandoval adds more titles to his rich body of work, and we can’t wait to see what he does next!
Read More: Where Is Station 19 Filmed?