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(Washington, D.C.) -- Today in honor of the four firefighters who died battling a wildfire in Washington state, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) delivered these remarks on the floor of the United States Senate.

Mr. President, like many Americans, this morning I woke up to the tragic news that four firefighters had died while battling a wildfire near Winthrop, Washington. Today, I want my colleagues and the American people to know the names of those four brave firefighters:

  • Tom Craven, 30, of Ellensburg, Washington;
  • Karen Fitzpatrick, 18, of Yakima, Washington;
  • Devin Weaver, 21, of Yakima;
  • and Jessica Johnson, 19, also from Yakima.


They were very young people. These were people who put themselves in harms way to keep the rest of us safe. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those four very courageous firefighters. Mr. President, it's hard to imagine the dangers that firefighters face every day. But they choose to fight fires to help protect the rest of us, our families and our communities.

When something like this happens, it makes all of us stop and think about what they've sacrificed for our safety. My brother is a firefighter. For years, he fought fires. My family and I understand the risks. I know how those families feel every day when they send their loved ones off to work. They're proud of them. They know they're doing something important for their neighbors and their community. And they're always hoping they'll get back home safely at the end of the day. This tragedy reminds us all of the dangers that firefighters face every single day.

To the families of those four brave young people, please know that we are a grateful nation, and you are all in our thoughts and in our prayers. And I also want to wish a speedy recovery for the other firefighters who were injured while battling the wildfire. I want to thank all the firefighters in Washington state and across the country for the work they do to protect us. We owe them a debt of gratitude. And today, we owe four families our condolences and our thanks for their sacrifice.