WENDOVER – It has been a very long journey home for the Utah firefighters sent to tackle the Mendocino complex fire in California. Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matt Burchett was working with this fleet when he was killed by a falling tree.
Some grateful people in Wendover were there to welcome the firefighters back into the Beehive State. People lined along Wendover Boulevard with American flags to greet the convoy of trucks making their way back from California.
Residents like Jessica Gonzalez never met Burchett, but she felt she needed to show her support for fire fighters and their families.
“I hug my kids every night because I think about all of those people who have to go and fight fires and thy have to sacrifice [time with] their families,” Gonzalez says.
Others, like Dylan Morley say all first responders deserve to be honored.
“I’m thankful and I appreciate everything firefighters do and the cops. So, I want to show my thanks and support,” he says.
The Wendover Fire Department used their fire trucks and ambulances to give the convoy a silent escort, so they could fuel up and quickly get back on the freeway and head home. Wendover Fire Captain Cami Carter says it was important for them to show love for the crews assigned to California.
She says, “It doesn’t matter if you’re 100 miles away or if you’re right next door. We all stand together.”
Carter has lost friends in the line of duty. She says it can shake a department to its core to lose a member, but it also bonds them, as well
“In the line of duty, they do what they love and, a lot of times, we honor the fact that they are able to put their life out there for other people. It’s the most selfless act they could do,” Carter says.
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