Local firefighters plan to attend services for fallen comrades
By: Melissa Toupin
6 thousand acres of Arizona forest erupt in flames, and then, tragedy. Though thousands of miles away firefighters in Providence, Rhode Island find the images hard to look at. They are mourning the loss of 19 fallen brothers.
“Words really can't describe a loss of that magnitude. I think of the families, and the friends and really the community and how much of an impact that's going to have,” said Paul Doughty, President of the Providence Firefighters union.
They were the first boots on the ground, an elite group of firefighters called the 'Granite Mountain Hot Shots'. Fed by gusty winds and extreme heat the fire proved to be too much, taking 19 lives.
“We're devastated. We just lost 19 of some of the finest people you'll ever meet,” said Dan Fraijo, Chief of the Prescott Fire Department.
Back in Providence, firefighters are no stranger to line of duty deaths. Dozens of names are etched on a memorial outside the Public Safety Complex for those who gave their lives. Three have been in the last 25 years in the city.
“A lot of the loss of life in RI is through occupational cancer, heart disease, and in burning buildings,” said Doughty.
The Providence crew is now working to find a way to pay tribute to the firefighters of Yarnell. They plan to send at least 5 firefighters to the funeral services for their fallen comrades.
“It's engrained in us since day one that it's a team effort and the team goes beyond your own individual company, beyond your own fire department, beyond your own state and throughout the country,” said Doughty.