A man with a suburban Chicago connection was among the 19 firefighters killed Sunday while battling a raging wildfire in Arizona, NBC Chicago has learned.
Anthony Rose, 23, grew up in Wisconsin but attended Zion-Benton Township High School before moving to Arizona at age 16, family and friends said. In Crown King, Ariz., Rose earned his GED online and went to work for the local fire department.
He was remembered Monday as a jokester, but also as a kind and caring man who "blossomed" at the Crown King Fire Department, according to officials there.
In just a few months, he would have become a father.
His fiancée, Tiffany Hettrick, was due in October, family members told NBC News. The couple lived in Arizona, and Hettrick had been accustomed to her husband-to-be's being gone doing what he loved.
"He always wanted to be a firefighter, and he was living what he wanted to do. He’s with God now, so he’s OK," Hettrick's stepfather, Michael Mooney, told NBC News. "I don’t warm up to too many people too much, but he was a very good guy, and I knew that right away."