July 2, 2013

Elite firefighters killed in Ariz. remembered, mourned

The Associated Press

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This undated photo courtesy of the the Woyjeck family shows firefighter, Kevin Woyjeck, right, and his father, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Joe Woyjeck. Kevin Woyjeck of Seal Beach, Calif., was one of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, who was killed Sunday evening above the town of Yarnell, northwest of Phoenix in the nation's biggest loss of firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years. (AP Photo/Woyjeck Family)

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A photo of one of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot crew members who were killed fighting a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz., on Sunday, sits at a makeshift memorial outside the crew's fire station on Monday in Prescott, Ariz.

The Associated Press

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Names, ages of killed firefighters

Andrew Ashcraft, 29

Kevin Woyjeck, 21

Anthony Rose, 23

Eric Marsh, 43

Christopher MacKenzie, 30

Robert Caldwell, 23

Clayton Whitted, 28

Scott Norris, 28

Dustin Deford, 24

Sean Misner, 26

Garret Zuppiger, 27

Travis Carter, 31

Grant McKee, 21

Travis Turbyfill, 27

Jesse Steed, 36

Wade Parker, 22

Joe Thurston, 32

William Warneke, 25

John Percin, 24
 

"He played with tremendous heart and desire," Gruendyke said. "He wasn't the biggest or fastest guy on the team but he played with great emotion and intensity."

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SCOTT NORRIS: THE 'IDEAL AMERICAN GENTELMAN'

Scott Norris, 28, was known around Prescott through his part-time job at Bucky O'Neill Guns.

"Here in Arizona the gun shops are a lot like barbershops. Sometimes you don't go in there to buy anything at all, you just go to talk," said resident William O'Hara. "I never heard a dirty word out of the guy. He was the kind of guy who if he dated your daughter, you'd be OK with it.

"He was just a model of a young, ideal American gentleman."

O'Hara's son Ryan, 19, said Norris' life and tragic death had inspired him to live a more meaningful life.

"He was a loving guy. He loved life. And I've been guilty of not looking as happy as I should, and letting things get to me, and Scott wasn't like that at all."

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WADE PARKER: ANOTHER SECOND GENERATION FIREFIGHTER

At 22, Wade Parker had just joined the Hotshots team. His father works for the nearby Chino Valley Fire Department, said retired Prescott Fire Department Capt. Jeff Knotek, who had known Wade since he was "just a little guy."

The younger Parker had been very excited about being part of the Hotshot crew, Knotek said.

"He was another guy who wanted to be a second generation firefighter," Knotek said. "Big, athletic kid who loved it, aggressive, assertive and in great shape."

"It's just a shame to see this happen," Knotek said.

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JOHN PERCIN JR.: STRONG, BRAVE, AMAZING

He loved baseball and had an unforgettable laugh. In his aunt's eyes, John Percin Jr. was, simply, "an amazing young man."

"He was probably the strongest and bravest young man I have ever met in my life," Donna Percin Pederson said in an interview with The Associated Press from her home in Portland, Ore.

John Percin Sr., declined to comment Monday. "It's not a good time right now."

Percin, 24, was a multisport high school athlete who graduated in 2007 from West Linn High School, southeast of Portland.

Geoff McEvers grew up playing baseball with Percin and remembered Percin as a fun-loving guy with an unforgettable laugh, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

McEvers said he learned about the Percin's death through friends.

"It's already tragic when you hear about those who died," McEvers told the newspaper, "but when you find out it's someone you know personally, it's tough."

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ANTHONY ROSE: 'BLOSSOMED' AS FIREMAN

Anthony Rose, 23, was one of the youngest victims. He grew up in Wisconsin and previously worked as a firefighter in nearby Crown King before moving on to become a Hotshot.

Retired Crown King firefighter Greg Flores said Rose "just blossomed in the fire department. He did so well and helped so much in Crown King. We were all so very proud of him."

Flores said the town was planning a fundraiser for Rose and hoped to also have a memorial to honor him.

"He was the kind of guy that his smile lit up the whole room and everyone would just rally around him," he said. "He loved what he was doing, and that brings me some peace of heart."

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TRAVIS TURBYFILL: 'BIG, HUGE MARINE'

Known as "Turby" among crew members, Travis Turbyfill got a fulltime position with the Hotshots when another member's girlfriend asked him to quit.

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Additional Photos

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Unidentified members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew from Prescott, Ariz., pose together in this undated photo provided by the City of Prescott. Some of the men in this photograph were among the 19 firefighters killed while battling an out-of-control wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz., on Sunday, according to Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.

The Associated Press

  


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