The entire nation mourns with community of Prescott, Ariz. over the loss of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, who were killed in the line of duty battling a wildfire on Sunday.
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But the tragedy also hits close to home.
One of the Hotshots, 21-year-old Kevin Woyjeck, of Seal Beach, Calif., was the son of Joe Woyjeck, who has served as captain of the Los Angeles County Fire Department for nearly 30 years.
The Hotshots are an elite group of firefighters based in Prescott. Candidates must go through rigorous training and complete a bootcamp-style test to prove that they are in peak physical condition.
Nineteen members of the force were trapped while battling a wildfire started by lightning on Friday and that destroyed more than 200 buildings in the town of Yarnell, northwest of Phoenix, Ariz.
Before moving to Prescott, Kevin Woyjeck was an L.A. County Fire Explorer, a training program for youth 15-21 years old.
Joining the Granite Mountain Hotshots was only supposed to be a seasonal position.
Keith Mora, spokesman for L.A. County Fire described Woyjeck as a dedicated and enthusiastic firefighter.
“Kevin Woyjeck was an extremely hardworking young man. He had goals to become a firefighter with the Los Angeles County Fire Department… He was a great kid to be around. He had a great sense of humor, loved to smile, loved to help people. He was a great teammate for others… He always had everybody’s back, made sure everybody had what they needed. And, he was a great supporter of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, with the goal in mind that one day he could be like his father, maybe working hand-in-hand with his father at the Los Angeles County Fire Department.”
Woyjeck is survived by his father, mother and siblings.
Henry Austin, Erin McClam, and Ian Johnston from NBCNews.com contributed to this report.
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Source: Santa Clarita News