Victim of Wildfire Honored at Service

From Associated Press

Tom Craven's hearse was an antique firetruck and his funeral cortege Saturday was a string of pumpers, tankers and green Forest Service rigs.

The career Forest Service firefighter was among four crew members who died last week when a blaze exploded in the northern Cascade Range. It was the country's deadliest wildfire since 1994.

"By all standards, Tom Craven ranks at the top. He had the biggest heart and the biggest smile," Roger Krening, his former high school football coach, told 1,500 mourners at a memorial service.

Craven, 30, who was married and had a 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, began working for the Forest Service in 1990. He was assigned to the Wenatchee National Forest in 1993 and was a squad boss in charge of a five-member crew.

The four victims were among 21 firefighters on mop-up duty Tuesday who were trapped in the blaze, which, stoked by high winds and high temperatures, exploded from 25 acres to 2,500 acres in less than three hours.

Memorial services are scheduled next week for Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18; Jessica Johnson, 19; and Devin A. Weaver, 21.

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