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Fallen Brothers» Twisp Wildland Fire Tragedy




Line of Duty Death

     Our condolences to the Weaver, Fitzpatrick, Johnson, Craven, and the United States Forest Service families. Four firefighters of the Naches Ranger District Crew lost their lives in Wenatchee National Forest, Washington, July 10, 2001. The crew was working in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, when the 5 acre brush fire fanned by high winds raced up the valley and forced 40 firefighters to take refuge in their fire shelters. The wildland fire ballooned into a 2500 acre fire in less than two and a half hours. Four other firefighters and two civilians were injured in the incident.

Devin Weaver      Devin Weaver, 21, of Yakima, an outdoorsman and former curveball pitcher at Eisenhower High School, was headed to the University of Washington this fall.

     Karen Fitzpatrick, 18, of Yakima, was only 3 weeks into her career as a firefighter, and 3 weeks out of high school. Karen was a devout Christian who once battled a neighborhood brush fire while wearing pajamas.

     Jessica Johnson, 19, of Yakima, was a member of the West Valley High School swim team who incorporated firefighter training into her studies at Central Washington University.

Tom Craven and Family      Tom Craven, 30, of Ellensburg, a 11 year veteran of the Forest Service had 3 brothers battling the fire also. Tom could outrun flames the way he once sprinted from linebackers on the gridiron at Central Washington University. Our brother Tom left behind a wife, Evelyn, and two children, a 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.

     A memorial service was held July 24, 2001. About 8,500 firefighters from eight states and British Columbia and the victims’ families and friends packed the Sun Dome in Yakima for service for the four young firefighters who perished in the Thirty Mile Fire. A memorial fund has been established and donations can be made to:

FireFighters' Memorial Fund

c/o Yakima Valley Credit Union
P.O. Box 2922
Yakima, WA 98907

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