With great sadness we report that on Friday, September 28, a single-vehicle accident in the Ahtanum State Forest claimed the lives of two DNR Southeast Region firefighters. Matthew Trost, 20, from Canyon Country, California, had been a member of our Ahtanum 20 Hand Crew for 2 years, and was a senior firefighter on the crew this year. Samuel Amaral-Gallaway, 20, of Yakima, was on his third season with DNR; he served most of the summer on Southeast Engine 561, and had recently moved from the engine to join the Ahtanum crew for the remainder of their season.
This tragic accident has affected the Ahtanum crew deeply; their crew superintendent was first on the scene of the accident, and 3 crew members were at work that day and provided assistance with the response. The crew is extremely close this year, as they have been deployed to fire assignments all but 10 days since they finished their training in June. During the two weeks that Samuel had joined the crew to keep their numbers up for assignments, he became part of that close team. With this loss, even members who had already left for the season are gathering to assist one another.
A memorial service for Samuel will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 6, at West Valley High School in Yakima. The location has been changed from earlier plans to hold it at a church. You can read more about Samuel’s life and the planned memorial service here. Matthew’s family has not finalized plans for a memorial service yet; they plan to hold that in California after they are able to return home.
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation has contacted the families to provide support. Memorial funds may be set up in their remembrance; we will share information when it becomes available. UPDATE (10/5): The Trost family has established a donation account at Wells Fargo; anyone can contribute at any Wells Fargo location by referencing “In Memory of Matthew Trost.”
If you would like to send condolences to the Ahtanum Crew members, their mailing address is:
Ahtanum Work Center
9571 North Fork Road
Yakima, WA 98903
Please take a moment to reflect upon the loss of these dedicated young men, and keep in your thoughts their families and friends.
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