Remembering the fallen firefighters of Twisp, Washington

By: Molly Gorny | Date: Fri, August 21st, 2015

Broken Heart
Cartoon titled "Broken Heart" by Jeff Koterba via (

Broken Heart

Cartoon titled “Broken Heart” by Jeff Koterba via (

On Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 three firefighters were lost in a fast moving blaze in Twisp, Washington. Four others were seriously injured. It is believed that the vehicle the men were using was involved in some type of accident which prevented them from escaping the fast-moving blaze.

The fallen firefighters, Richard Wheeler, Tom Zbyszewski, and Andrew Zajac, like the other 53 who have lost their lives so far this year, were everyday heroes who died in service to their families, their neighbors, and their community.

One was a 20-year-old physics student and theater fan, another a former starting right tackle with a master’s degree. The oldest and most experienced had just graduated from college with a degree in natural resources and was planning a career in public-land management.

All were seasonal firefighters working for the U.S. Forest Service when they perished Wednesday in a firestorm on a sun-baked hillside near Twisp, Okanogan County. Their names: Tom Zbyszewski, Andrew Zajac and Richard Wheeler.

Read the full story: Firefighters killed near Twisp: ‘three big heroes protecting small towns’

Fallen Firefighters

Three firefighters who died in a firestorm near Twisp Wednesday: Richard Wheeler, Tom Zbyszewski, and Andrew Zajac. (Photos courtesy of the families: via The Seattle Times)

It is easy for citizens to take the efforts of firefighters for granted. At times like these, however, when we hear of the tragic loss of those who make sacrifices for our safety, we are reminded that we should pause and say thank you to each and every first responder. We should also consider supporting the groups that take care of the families of the fallen in times of need.

Visit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation website

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