ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah fire agencies are sending personnel north to provide fire and medical support for the Salt Lake Valley while firemen based there attend the funeral of Matthew Burchett, the Utah firefighter who died of injuries suffered while fighting a California wildfire last week.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to go provide service to the community so that those close to Chief Burchett can mourn and pay their respects,” Washington City Fire Capt. Julio Reyes said.
Reyes and three other Washington City firefighters left in an engine Sunday afternoon. They will be covering for Unified Fire Authority Station 103 in Herriman.
The Washington City crew is one of the 30 staffed fire engines from around the state that were called to the Salt Lake Valley to assist with 911 calls Monday while friends and coworkers of Burchett attend his funeral.
Crews from Hurricane Valley Fire District and a paramedic engine from Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department also left Sunday afternoon to cover for Unified Fire Authority.
Burchett, 42, was a battalion chief for Draper City Fire Department. He volunteered to go to California to fight the Mendocino Complex Fire north of San Francisco. He died in the hospital after being hit by a falling tree.
Burchett worked as a firefighter for 20 years and leaves behind his wife and 7-year-old son.
Fire personnel from agencies throughout Southern Utah have placed black bands on their badges as a symbol of respect for Burchett’s sacrifice.
Burchett is one of six firefighters who have died fighting blazes across California, which have collectively burned through hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed thousands of homes.
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