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Florida says good-bye to fallen firefighters

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Brett Fulton, Joshua Burch

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-974987.mp3

Lake City – Florida firefighters are battling more than 400 wildfires across the state. So far, they've burned more than200-thousand acres and claimed the lives of two firefighters with the state division of forestry. Lynn Hatter reports, the first of two funerals for the fallen firefighters was held Friday in Lake City. About a thousand people attended the service.

"To his family he was a son to his mother and father .He was a husband to his wife, Danielle. He was a father to his sons, Jeremy and Jacob. He was connected to others as a colleague, a co-worker, he was connected to others as a motorcycle rider, and to others, a hunting buddy."

Joshua Burch died Monday, battling the Blue Ribbon wildfire, about 14 miles East of Jasper in Hamilton County. He was trying to save fellow firefighter Brett Fulton, when the blaze overtook them both. Burch's friend Billy Billingsly remembered him as a man who loved his family and his job.

"He knew it was dangerous. And, a lot of firefighters don't get the recognition they should. There were times when he thought about quitting the job for not liking it, but for the salary of trying to raise his family. A man always wants the best for his family. And he couldn't leave it, because he loved it that much."

Burch was only 31 years old. The service for firefighter Brett Fulton will take place on Saturday.