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Thread: Arizona- Hero firefighter badly burned.-Update LODD 6-19-03

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    Arizona- Hero firefighter badly burned

    Hero firefighter badly burned

    Judy Nichols
    The Arizona Republic
    May. 17, 2003 12:00 AM


    Apache Firefighter Rick Lupe's legendary skills made him a hero last year when he almost single-handedly kept the monster "Rodeo-Chediski" fire out of Show Low.

    But those skills couldn't stop a prescribed fire that blew out of control this week, engulfing him in flames and leaving him in critical condition.

    Lupe was working on a controlled burn Wednesday on Sawtooth Mountain, near Whiteriver, when a storm front blew through.

    Special report

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    Celebrated Arizona firefighter dies of burn injuries LODD

    Celebrated firefighter dies of burn injuries

    azcentral.com
    Jun. 19, 2003 10:55 AM


    A celebrated firefighter who was badly burned last month when a prescribed fire flared out of control has died of his injuries.

    Apache Firefighter Rick Lupe, who gained legendary status last year when he almost single-handedly kept the monster "Rodeo-Chediski" fire out of Show Low, was pronounced dead early Thursday at Maricopa Medical Center.

    Lupe was working on a controlled burn on May 14 on Sawtooth Mountain, near Whiteriver, when a storm front blew through. He tried to deploy an emergency shelter, but the wind blew it away, leading him to lie down in prone position as a last resort.

    After the flames roared past him, the 42-year-old, with third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body, walked a half-mile to seek help, officials said.

    News of Lupe's death reached his colleagues quickly Thursday, including firefighters trying to contain a wildfire that's threatening homes and businesses in the vacation hamlet of Summerhaven near Tucson.
    Donations for the Lupe family can be made to the WMAT- Rick Lupe Donation Fund at any WellsFargo Bank account No. 3828332563

    A Lupe Fund also has been set up at Arizona Federal Credit Union
    account No. 468902
    Funeral Services are pending.

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...edeath-ON.html


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    Arizona loses man who saved Show Low

    Arizona loses man who saved Show Low


    Burns claim firefighting hero

    Connie Cone Sexton
    The Arizona Republic
    Jun. 20, 2003 12:00 AM


    White Mountain Apache firefighter Rick Lupe, who died Thursday after surviving five weeks in a burn unit, is being remembered as a quiet hero who helped save a town.

    Lupe's persistence and ingenuity in leading a hotshot crew and rigging a last-ditch fire line during the June 2002 "Rodeo-Chediski" fire kept Show Low from burning.

    Lupe would smile at the accolades but would be uncomfortable with the praise. He was just doing his job, he'd say. Just doing the job he loved.

    He was a model firefighter, said Roy Hall, a fuels specialist for the Forest Service in New Mexico who was Lupe's supervisor last year.

    "He was extremely loyal to his comrades," Hall said. "He never ever wavered. You could turn around and always find Rick Lupe beside you."

    With his death, friends, family members and co-workers are again calling Lupe a hero and a fighter for having lived five weeks after suffering third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body.

    He was burned May 14 during a prescribed burn near Whiteriver, on the Fort Apache Reservation.

    Lupe, a fuels specialist, had gone to check on a hot spot fire when wind fanned the flames, trapping him. He tried to deploy his shelter but it blew away, so he fell to the ground to let the fire burn over him.

    Fire had greatly injured his hands and face. And the heat had damaged his lungs. But he managed to walk a half-mile for help.

    He survived a six-hour operation at Maricopa Medical Center but remained in a medically induced coma. He eventually came off a kidney dialysis machine. Survival for his types of injuries is 50 percent.

    Doctors and staff members became like family and treated the Lupes gently, said family spokesman Wendall Peacock, fire operations coordinator in Arizona for the Bureau of Land Management.

    Lupe's wife, Evelyn, and sons Sean, Daniel and Brent were often by his side at the hospital. On Wednesday, calls went out to them. He wasn't expected to live much more than an hour.

    Those one-hour alerts continued until, 11 hours after the first alert, Lupe died. The Whiteriver resident was 43.

    Word of Lupe's death quickly spread among Arizona firefighters, including those working a fire on Mount Lemmon, near Tucson.

    The message came not long after his death from dispatch: "All units on the Aspen fire, stand by for a message. Superintendent Rick Lupe died at 8:50 this morning . . . God bless you Rick."

    When Jim Paxon, who was the Forest Service's spokesman during the Rodeo-Chediski fire, heard of Lupe's death, he was devastated.

    "It crushed me. ... It's a loss for Arizona because Rick Lupe was the kind of man that fathers and husbands and bosses are supposed to be."

    Lupe was proud of his sons "with real sweet affection," Paxon said. "He and his wife would hold hands and it was very obvious they really liked each other."

    Lupe grew up in the Whiteriver community and attended Alchesay High School.

    "Anybody who met Rick knew that what you saw was what you got," Peacock said. "There are people who aren't humble but should be and people who are humble but shouldn't be. He was one who shouldn't have been humble."

    Dallas Massey, tribal chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, had known Lupe for more than 30 years.

    The tribe issued a proclamation Wednesday calling Lupe "a leader for his people. His courage and vision moved mountains."

    Lupe worked his way up through the firefighting ranks and used his childhood knowledge of having played in the woods.

    He was agile and in great shape and didn't hesitate to relieve a crew member on the fire line when they needed a break.

    Lupe had been a member of the Fort Apache Hotshot crew for nearly 20 years and most recently was promoted to fuels specialist.

    When the Rodeo-Chediski fire threatened Show Low, Lupe set his mind on saving the town, Paxon said.

    He drew a fire line with a back burn and bulldozers that kept the fire from crossing U.S. 60.

    "I think it's kind of emotional," Lupe said at the time. "This is my land, and I really didn't want it to jump the highway. If it got over there, I have so many relatives and people I know over there."

    A tribute already had been planned for Saturday to let those whose homes and businesses were saved honor Lupe. The program will go on as scheduled, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Blueridge High School in Pinetop.

    Reporter Judd Slivka contributed to this article.


    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...pe-obit20.html

    Donations for the Lupe family can be made to the WMAT-Rick Lupe Donation Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 3828332563.

    A Lupe Fund also has been set up at Arizona Federal Credit Union, account No. 468902.

    Funeral services are pending.

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    Firefighting warrior led crew that saved Pinetop, Show Low

    Firefighting warrior led crew that saved Pinetop, Show Low
    Jun. 21, 2003 12:00 AM


    Rick never thought it was such a big deal, which is probably why you don't know much about him.

    His title was division group supervisor. In fact, he was a field commander and not in the military way, though last year he fought the second-biggest battle of his life. Rick Lupe saved Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside when the team of hotshots he led stopped the "Rodeo-Chediski" fire from crossing U.S. 60 and burning into the heart of those communities.

    Rick worked tirelessly along with four hotshot crews, including "his crew," the Fort Apache Hotshots. They used bulldozers and their hands to cut a line and a burnout operation from a narrow ridge above Timberon subdivision in Show Low, down through Cottonwood Canyon on the Fort Apache Reservation. The burnout held and the fire was deprived of fuel to advance. With no fuel, the Rodeo-Chediski monster was not able to attack the towns along U.S. 60. Rick and his team saved many hundreds of homes and prevented the Rodeo-Chediski from being a million acres or more.

    Until this past May, it was his biggest fight in many years of dealing with fire in Arizona. A bigger fight came in May, and Rick took it on like the professional firefighter he was, but this time the results were terribly different.

    Rick and his team did not want a repeat of 2002 this year. Together, the White Mountain Apaches and Bureau of Indian Affairs fire professionals ignited a prescribed burn west of Whiteriver on Sawtooth Mountain.

    On May 14, Rick went in to check a hot spot. Suddenly, there was a flare-up that surrounded him with fire. Rick had trained for this moment a thousand times. He attempted to deploy his fire shelter, but turbulent winds blew away the shelter. Rick went into the dirt face down, sticking his nose into the ground to protect his lungs from the hot air and flames, but when the firestorm passed, Rick had severe burns over 30 percent of his back, legs and arms.

    Rick is a fighter, and he knew what to do. The battle wasn't over. He pulled himself up and walked out of the woods about a half-mile and found help. The medical helicopters took over, transporting this warrior to Whiteriver Hospital and then to Maricopa Burn Center.

    That was five weeks and two days ago.

    Rick's family watched over and prayed for him. They celebrated his 43rd birthday in surgical masks, singing native songs and gently caring for him. Rick responded at first, but the battle ended at 8:50 a.m. on Thursday.

    The firefighting family lost a brother and a son. The White Mountains and Arizona lost a fine young man who loved his family and was proud of his heritage as a White Mountain Apache.

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...tlet3-211.html

    Jim Paxon, who spent more than 30 years fighting forest fires, including last summer's "Rodeo-Chediski" fire in Arizona, is a consultant on forest fire issues.

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    Funeral of Richard Glenn Lupe

    Richard Glenn Lupe

    Richard Glenn Lupe age 43 passed away June 19, 2003 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born in Whiteriver, Arizona to Ralph and Loretta Lupe. Richard Lupe worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Apache Agency as a Fuel Management Supervisor; he gained national
    recognition for his efforts in playing a vital role in the Rodeo-Chediski Fire of June 2002. He is survived by his wife; Evelyn Lupe, 3 sons; Sean Glenn Lupe, Daniel Glenn Lupe, and Brent Glenn Lupe, all of Whiteriver, his father; Ralph Lupe Sr., of Fort Apache, 2 sisters; Ralita Lupe, and Renita Lupe both of Fort Apache, 5 brothers; Robert Lupe of Phoenix, Ralph Lupe Jr., Randy Lupe, Clayton Lupe, all of Whiteriver, and Ronnie Lupe of McNary, 6 aunts, and numerous relatives, friends, and co-workers. He is preceded in death by his mother; Loretta Bones Lupe. and his son; Brad Lupe. Funeral services will be Wednesday June 25th at 1:00 PM at the Alchesay Activity Center in Whiteriver, Arizona. Owens Mortuary of Show Low handled the arrangements.
    Published in the Arizona Republic on 6/24/2003

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    Memorial service planned for fallen firefighter, Rick Lupe

    Staff Report 06/23/2003

    WHITERIVER -A memorial service for Rick Lupe will be held on Wednesday, June 25, at 1 p.m. in the Alchesay Activity Center in Whiteriver. Wakes will be held at the family residence in North Fork on Monday and Tuesday night, burial will be in the Canyon Day cemetery.

    Lupe was severely burned in a prescribed fire burnover on May 14. He had been in the Maricopa County Medical Center Burn Unit for the past five weeks where he passed away on Thursday, June 19.

    His wife Evelyn, and three sons, Sean, Daniel and Brent survive him. Rick was a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and a Fuel Specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fort Apache Agency. He was also a Division Superintendent for Larry Humphrey's Type 1 Southwest Incident Management Team. Rick was instrumental in preventing the Rodeo-Chediski Fire from spreading to the communities of Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside and McNary last year. His work with the Fort Apache Hotshots was credited with preventing the fire from crossing US 60, thus saving the communities.


    Owens Mortuary in Show Low, Arizona is handling the funeral arrangements. Contributions for the Lupe family may be made to the WMAT-Rick Lupe Donation Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank, account #3828332563. An additional account for the family is at the Arizona Federal Credit Union, account #468902.

    http://www.wmicentral.com/site/news....d=505965&rfi=6


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    Memorial Fund Rick Lupe

    WMAT-Rick Lupe Donation Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank, account #3828332563. An additional account for the family is at the Arizona Federal Credit Union, account #468902.

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    Lupe, Rick
    Age: 43 Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter/Fuels Management Supervisor Nature of Death: Burns
    Status: Career Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 05/14/2003 Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 15:50 Activity Type: Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 06/19/2003 Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info: Fort Apache Agency
    US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
    Fort Apache Agency, P.O. Box 560
    Whiteriver, Arizona 85941
    Chief: Ben Nuvamsa

    Initial Summary: Firefighter/Fuels Management Supervisor Lupe was seriously burned over 40% of his body when he was overcome by fire progress in a prescribed burn project. Lupe underwent multiple skin graft surgeries at the Maricopa Burn Center in Phoenix but died from the injuries a month later.
    Memorial Fund Info: Donations for the Lupe family can be made to the WMAT-Rick Lupe Donation Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 3828332563. A Lupe Fund also has been set up at Arizona Federal Credit Union, account No. 468902.



    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1420

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