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Local service to honor two of the 19 fallen firefighters

July 09, 2013|By Lauren Williams
  • Costa Mesa fire Engineer Fred McDowell, Engineer Mike Hurd, Engineer Scott Purcell and Capt. Rob Gagne at the service for the 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire.
Costa Mesa fire Engineer Fred McDowell, Engineer Mike… (Courtesy Rob Gagne…)

A memorial for two firefighters killed in Arizona's Yarnell Hill fire is scheduled for later this month in Newport Beach, according to a family representative.

The service for cousins Grant McKee, 21, and Robert Caldwell, 23, is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. July 20 at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, according to Zoltan Teglas.

The event is not open to the public, and is already expected to be over capacity, he said.

Information on where to send flowers was not yet available.

Mckee and Caldwell were among the 19 Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew members killed June 30.

Their grandmother is a 40-year Costa Mesa resident. McKee attended Newport Harbor High School up until his senior year, when he moved to Arizona to live with the Caldwells.

On Monday, four Costa Mesa firefighters traveled to Prescott, Ariz., to show support for the 19 firefighters killed in the blaze.

Fire Capt. Rob Gagne and fire engineers Scott Purcell, Fred McDowell and Mike Hurd attended funeral services Tuesday afternoon. They stayed with a retired Costa Mesa firefighter and traveled on their own time and money, Gagne said.

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The lightening-sparked Yarnell Hill blaze began June 28 and burned about 8,400 acres. The firefighters were overtaken when winds from a thunderstorm pushed the flames toward them, making it hard to see through the smoke.

In addition to McKee, four other hotshots grew up in California: Kevin Woyjeck, 21, of Seal Beach, Sean Misner, 26, of the Santa Ynez Valley, and Hemet natives William "Billy" Warneke, 25, and Chris MacKenzie, 30.

The Maricopa County medical examiner released all the firefighters' bodies Sunday.

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