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SD Firefighter Died A 'Hero'

August 12, 2011, 12:50 PM by Austin Hoffman

SD Firefighter Died A 'Hero'
Trampus Haskvitz

RAPID CITY, SD - A firefighter has died and four others were injured while battling the Coal Canyon Fire Thursday afternoon.

Fire officials say it happened on U.S. Forest Service land nine miles north of Edgemont.

South Dakota Wildland Fire Suppression Division Director Joe Lowe said the men came in on a mid-slope road and the fire was up the hill from them on the initial attack. He says it was windy and an ember went up in the air and started a fire downhill from the men. The flames then grew to two large fires and surrounded them by fire and blocked their exit.

Firefighter Trampus Haskvitz, 23, of Hot Springs died from his injuries.

Firefighter Austin Whitney, 20, has burns on his arms and third degree burns on his hands and neck. He was treated in Rapid City before being transported to the burn center in Greely, Colorado.

Firefighter Kevin Fees, 20, has minor burns on his hands and neck has already been released from the hospital. He's expected to make a full recovery.

Lowe says you can't ask more from a public servant than to give their life for what they do.

"In this case, some came and some gave all. And in this case Trampus gave all. He'll die a hero. He will always be remembered by the fire service community here," Lowe said.

Two other federal firefighters were also hurt but their names and details on their injuries have not been released.

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