Killed Washington Firefighter Had Deep Montana Connections

by jhwygirl

USFS and BLM flags are flying at half-staff for two firefighters killed on the Panther Fire, in northwestern California.

One firefighter – 18-year old Andrew Palmer – was killed when a snag fell on him. Andrew was on his first fire.

The other firefighter, 49-year old Daniel Packer, Chief of East Pierce County Fire and Rescue in Bonney Lake, Washington, was killed when the fire made a run up a ridge. One other firefighter with Daniel was able to make the run down the hill, to a road, where he deployed his shelters also – always a last resort to be used when a fire burns over. Daniel was unable to make it down the hill. He had deployed his shelter.

Daniel was a 27 year veteran of firefighting. A father of 4 girls, and grandfather to two. One daughter graduated high school this fall, and two others are in college.

Daniel Packer was born and raised in Havre, Montana. His mother now lives in Billings. He also attended college here – but his friends couldn’t remember which school. True to Montana and his bull riding past, Daniel kept his burly mustache as a reminder.

Packer’s body was brought back to Tacoma today on a USFS firefighting plane. Firefighters met the plane, and bagpipes played as his flag covered casket was unloaded. Friends and family stood and wept.

A full investigation, needless to say, will be completed.

In the meantime, prayers and condolences to his wife, children and friends. His loss is felt by an enormously large group of people. Daniel’s funeral will be August 7th, and firefighters from across America will be there to show their respect.

A memorial fund has been set up at Washington Mutual Bank – Fire Chief Dan Packer Memorial, Acct # 3170484930. Checks may be mailed to:

East Pierce Professional Firefighters
PO Box 7500
Bonney Lake, WA 98391

Some men can’t be replaced. They can only be remembered. Daniel was one of them.

  1. Compassion, caring, love and support to Chief Packer’s family from all of us at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. His memory will be honored forever and always. Please know how much we genuinely do care.
    Director Family Outreach
    Wildland Firefighter Foundation

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