PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Palm Beach County firefighters will pay - and play - tribute to their fallen brothers in Arizona. 19 firefighters killed while battling the massive Yarnell Hill wildfire will be laid to rest early next week.
The sound of bagpipes will carry through the Arizona air beginning on Tuesday, as the members of the Prescott Fire Department are memorialized. One of those bagpipes will be played by Lee Forshner, a member of the Palm Beach County Firefighters Pipes & Drums band.
"It starts just tearing you apart," said Forshner, pondering the loss of so many firefighters during one single incident. "It's a tremendous honor to be able to go out there and put on this uniform, pick up my pipes and be able to play with them," he said.
Forshner and two fellow band members will fly on Monday to fire-scorched Arizona for a Tuesday service for all of the fallen members of the Prescott 'Hotshot' crew. Then, through the week, the Florida-based firefighters will pay tribute at several individual funerals.
"It's to be able to pass on tradition, create some history and give the families some closure and give the guys that passed, a good send off," said Forshner.
Forshner and the other band members are making the journey west never knew any of the men that died. But they do know of the men's sacrifice as well as the dangers that every firefighter faces each day.
"You just never know," said Forshner. "Unfortunately, it's a part of the job that you have to kind of accept."
The three firefighters from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue leave for Arizona on Monday. They band is part of a non-profit organization.
So far, they say, each firefighter going to Arizona is paying his own way. To learn more about the organization, click here .
On Friday evening, authorities in Arizona said the Yarnell Hill wildfire was 80% contained.
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