- Pub. Date:
"Entrapment . . . Four Young Firefighters killed. It has been confirmed, one was your daughter, Karen."
The first few days after the historic, fatal fire catastrophe known as the Thirtymile Fire, which occurred in a wilderness area near Winthrop, WA. only a short distance from the Western Canadian border on July 10, 2001-a dark shadow of sadness covered and enveloped the Northwestern United States such as had never been seen or experienced before. Four young firefighters had been killed fighting the enormous blaze that originally sprang out of an unattended, abandoned campfire ring the night before, situated not 30 feet from the paved road in the Chewuch River Canyon.
On that very hot, dry, late afternoon of July 10th, 2001, Karen L. FitzPatrick, 18 years old, and her three firefighter comrades, Devin Weaver, 21, Jessica Johnson, 19, and Tom Craven, 30, were surrounded and entrapped by what began as a small fire that ultimately became a huge firestorm, burning over 9,300 acres, and also taking their lives at exactly 5:30 PM that afternoon. Ten individuals, eight firefighters, and two campers, who deployed their fire shelters on the road, survived. But for the world of Wildland Firefighting-it would never again be the same. Safety issues sprang forth from the tragic fire that will be talked about and studied, probably forever.
Angel Promises is a tribute to remember the youngest firefighter in that group, based out of the Naches Ranger Station, in Naches, WA., near her home Yakima, WA. This book is a collection of Karen's poems as a teen poet, her mother, Kathie's collection as a teen poet and artist, and works as a young woman and mother, plus a few selected poems and messages sent to the family after the fire. Add and few more stories, special photos, and a visit to "Karen Street," and you have it: Angel Promises.