Ariz. fire deaths reinforce need for training

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As the state of Arizona mourns the loss of 19 firefighters over the weekend, some of this area’s bravest said the tragedy over the weekend reinforces the training they have received.

It’s been a big topic of conversation all around the country and locally, especially on social media, as people offer their prayers and condolences for the families of those lost over the weekend.

The bodies of 19 members of a firefighting team known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots now have been recovered from an area about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix, where they died Sunday night. They had been sent in to remove brush and other materials to keep a massive wildfire from spreading, only to have the flames and smoke trap and kill them.

The tragedy is on the minds of many local firefighters.

“I think it just gives everybody a little wake-up call. Like ‘hey, that could be us at any given time.’ Make sure we use our safety practices that we have and stay together and just be as safe as you can,” said Youngstown Fire Department Capt. Dave Cook.

Although it’s been almost 30 years since the city of Youngstown has lost a firefighter in the line of duty, Cook said the loss is still felt among the firefighting community.

And for firefighters everywhere, the mission is often the same:  To make sure “everybody goes home” at the end of their shift or at the end of the day.

“You never know when you come out to work what’s going to happen, what kind of fire you’re going to have and if you’re going to be fortunate where everybody comes back. Our goal is every fire we go to we all come back together,” Cook said.

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