Authorities identify Draper City fireman who died while fighting California fire
UPDATE: Authorities speak at Draper City Council chambers about Matt Burchett who died while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire.
(KUTV) — Utah firefighter Matt Burchett lost his life on Monday fighting the Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco, according to Draper City Fire Department.
The Associated Press reported that Burchett said goodbye to his wife and 7-year-old son in early August, volunteering to travel with 37 fellow firefighters from Utah to help battle the fires in California.
Cal Fire Division Chief Todd Derum told the Press Democrat that Burchett was battling flames downstream of a dam when a tree fell on him and other firefighters, the AP reported.
He left with a group of five firefighters from his department, along with 40 others from Utah, in early August. Several volunteers set out to help California firefighters battle the state’s largest recorded wildfire burning in the northern region.
California state officials are said Burchett was working in an active fire zone when he was hurt, later passing away at the hospital.
Burchett was with Draper Fire Department for five months before being injured.
In a statement from Draper Mayor Troy Walker:
"As you can imagine, our hearts are heavy as we digest this tragic news. Last night, we lost one of our Draper firefighters, a true hero. He was fighting the California wildfires and protecting life and property."
He posted on Instagram just hours before he sacrificed his life battling the blaze.
Before taking a promotion with the Draper Fire Department, Burchett was with Unified Fire Authority for 20 years.