Utah Legislature honors Draper fire chief who died fighting California wildfire

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah legislators Monday honored Matthew Burchett, the Draper fire chief who was killed while fighting a wildfire in California last August, during a moment of silence with Burchett’s family and colleagues.

“Words alone cannot properly express our feelings, but I hope in some that way we can impart to you the depth of our appreciation,” said Sen. Daniel McCay, R-Riverton.

Burchett served in the United Fire Authority for 20 years and joined the Draper Fire Department as battalion chief.

“Throughout his career he served with honor and distinction and earned the trust and admiration of his fellow firefighters,” McCay said.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

Family members of fallen Draper Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett — brother, Dominic Burchett, left, widow Heather Burchett, and parents Rose and Tom Burchett — are honored in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Matthew Burchett was killed Aug. 13, 2018, while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in California.

Legislators also honored other firefighters from along the Wasatch Front who were in the gallery and present in the Capitol for the yearly Fire Caucus luncheon.

“I think it means a lot, for the various organizations around the valley, that they recognize the efforts that we put forth … as unfortunate as it is we realize it’s a dangerous job and it’s nice to see that people understand the training, the work (and) the stress that goes on,” said Salt Lake City Fire Department Chief Karl Lieb.

Lieb said many of the firefighters at the Capitol had worked directly with Burchett, both at home and in California last summer.

“It has an impact, not just on the firefighters but on the families of the firefighters,” Lieb said.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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