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Fallen firefighter honored on 10th anniversary of his passing

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:00 PM MDT
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EDGEMONT, S.D. (KEVN) - It was 10 years ago Wednesday that a young man fighting a fire near Edgemont was killed on the job. The State of South Dakota and several fire agencies from the area are honoring his memory by presenting a plaque to his family.

The Coal Canyon Fire in 2011 burned more than 5,000 acres in the Southern hills north of Edgemont. The blaze also injured four firefighters and took the life of 24-year-old state firefighter Trampus Haskvitz.

The National Forest Service, South Dakota Wildland Fire, and the Haskvitz family came together to honor his memory on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Jay Wickham, assistant chief of operations with South Dakota Wildland Fire, said that Haskvitz’s legacy lives on, especially in how the fire division operates.

“You go back to the ground of where the fire happened, and you have different scenarios that happened during the fire,” Wickham said. “We bring our firefighters out here and we go through different scenarios on the scene of where the fire happened and use that as a learning tool.”

Haskvitz was honored with a plaque presented by South Dakota Wildland Fire.

Wickham said not only was Haskvitz a celebrated member of the force, Wickham knew him personally and said that it’s important an accident like this never happens again.

“I’m glad that we were able to keep the memory of Trampus alive, as well as the things we’ve done differently,” Wickham said. “It means a lot to me that we’ve been a learning agency, so that how we remember Trampus is by learning from what happened and changing how we do business.”

A letter from Governor Kristi Noem was read at the ceremony. She said that Haskvitz ‘s loss is a tragic reminder of the price paid by firefighters in keeping the rest of us safe.

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