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Thread: Hero Arizona Firefighter Dies

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Hero Arizona Firefighter Dies

    Hero Arizona Firefighter Dies


    Arizona Firefighter Rick Lupe is being remembered as a hero for saving hundreds of homes and lives during his career, but he never saw himself that way.

    "He said he did not view himself as a hero, he was just doing his job," said Chadeen Palmer, Public Information Officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Fort Apache.

    "He will be missed and mourned by so many people," she said.

    Lupe, 42, worked for the BIA for 20 years. He began as a hotshot, then served as a hotshot supervisor and most recently as a fuels management specialist.

    "He was a very very gentle, polite, dignified person," Palmer said. "He did his job without looking for any admiration or reward."

    Lupe passed away Thursday due to severe injuries he suffered while working on a controlled burn on Sawtooth Mountain on May 14.

    He was working alone when he was overtaken by flames. The accident is still under investigation, Palmer said. However, "With his passing it may remain a mystery," she said.

    Investigators know that Lupe did deploy his fire shelter, but they don't know whether he was able to use it or if the wind and fire blew it away. After the fire burned over him, Lupe walked half a mile to the location where a helicopter picked him up and transported him to the hospital.

    "He was truly amazing both physically and mentally," Palmer said.

    Lupe suffered burns to 33 percent of his body and was treated at the Maricopa Burn Center in Phoenix, where he underwent two skin graft surgeries.

    He is survived by his wife Evelyn and three teenaged sons. Palmer said he taught his sons to love the outdoors as much as he did, and the oldest son has recently applied to become a Fort Apache hotshot like his father.

    "It's like losing a family member to us all," Palmer said.

    Lupe was hailed as a hero last year for saving the city of Show Low and other nearby communities from the devastating Rodeo-Chediski fire, by holding it back with fire lines. The 469,000 acre fire was the largest in Arizona history.

    Funeral/Memorial arrangements: Chief Alchesay Activity Center, Whiteriver, AZ. Wednesday, June 25 at 1 p.m., with burial to follow at Canyon Day Cemetery in Canyon Day, AZ

    Flowers can be sent to Owens Mortuary at 320 North 9th St. in Show Low, Arizona 85901.

    According to a BIA press release, donation accounts have been established for Lupe's family. Donations may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank to the White Mountain Apache Tribe - Rick Lupe Donation Fund, Account #3828332563.

    An account has also been established through The 100 Club, a nonprofit organization established to provide assistance to injured firefighters and law enforcement officers. Donations may be made for Rick Lupe, Account #468902, at the Arizona Federal Credit Union. Credit card donations may be made in Rick's name on the Internet at under the contributions heading.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    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.

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