Translate this page

Family, Friends Remember Fallen Firefighters During Memorial Service


Saturday, July 13th, 2013
Issue 28, Volume 17.


HEMET - A Hemet native who was among the 19 firefighters killed while battling a raging wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz., was remembered today during a memorial service expected to draw hundreds.

Chris MacKenzie, 30, died June 30 when a wall of flames overwhelmed him and other members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

A memorial service was held tonight at the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater, just south of Hemet. Family, friends, colleagues, political figures and representatives from a variety of public safety agencies were on hand to pay their final respects.

MacKenzie's remains were returned from Yavapai County, along with those of fellow hotshot and Seal Beach native Kevin Woyjeck, aboard a C-130 military transport Wednesday.

A day earlier, a public memorial service was held for all of the fallen firefighters in Prescott Valley, Ariz., for which thousands turned out.

MacKenzie's fellow hotshot and 2005 Hemet High School graduate Billy Warneke was laid to rest Wednesday in Marana, Ariz.

The crew perished while trying to get containment lines around the Yarnell brush fire, which ignited at a business just off state Route 89, a highway that leads north into the mile-high city of Prescott, where the hotshots were based.

According to authorities, the men's bodies were found on a hillside by an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter crew. Some of the firefighters Advertisement
Advertisement for Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary
[ Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary ]
had taken cover in protective tents they apparently deployed in a last-ditch effort to escape a tide of flames.

There are about 100 hotshot crews based throughout the U.S. They are considered elite for their skills and ability to work fires under the most rugged and hazardous conditions.

The loss was the worst wildland firefighting tragedy since the 1933 Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles, during which 29 firefighters were killed, and the most firefighters killed since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

MacKenzie began his career as a seasonal firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, and served on the Tahquitz crew in the San Jacinto National Forest.

He went on to join a helicopter firefighting crew deployed by the Bureau of Land Management and joined the Mill Creek hotshots in the San Bernardino National Forest.

He was invited to apply to the Granite Mountain Hotshots by Aaron Stevens, one of his former captains, and had just started his third season as a full-time employee with the Prescott Fire Department as a lead crew member, according to Cal Fire.

MacKenzie is survived by his mother Lauri Goralski, father and retired Cal Fire Captain Michael MacKenzie, brother Aaron MacKenzie, stepmother Janice MacKenzie and stepsisters Janae Gier and Jill Allison.

To make donations to the MacKenzie family, email mackenziefund@gmail.com. CNS-07-13-2013 21:35


 

0 comments


arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!
 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for Dan's Got Crabs





Subscribe


Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login