It was a deadly weekend for the city of Phoenix. Not only was an officer killed in a hit-and-run, Phoenix firefighter Brad Harper was also killed after he became pinned between two vehicles while working a mulch fire.
We spoke with fellow firefighters about the department's loss.
Brad Harper had just two years on the Phoenix Fire Department, but he left a big impression. He was passionate, say his friends and coworkers, with a big appetite for food and for life.
With a picture of the fallen firefighter nearby, his five friends and co-workers talked about the joy of knowing Brad Harper and the pain now that he's gone.
"We love him, and know he's probably looking down on me right now and thinking what a baby I am, but we all love him and I know he's in a better place and with God right now," says friend Bobby Priest, also a firefighter.
At 23, Brad Harper was working his dream job with the Phoenix fire department.
"We didn't have to tell him one thing. He was always doing something and staying busy all the time. I actually had to slow him down sometimes and tell him to take it easy and I would try to take him to do other stuff with him to try to get him to stop cleaning so much. He just wanted to do the best job he could do," says Bob Merillat.
Six months ago Harper married the love of his life Lena, his high school sweetheart. Their wedding pictures show the joy of that day.
"Him and Lena together are like something you see from a fairy tale," says Priest.
But this tale ended tragically Saturday in a freak accident following a mulch fire. Friends say Lena Harper is resilient, finding comfort in her faith.
"She is faithful and she is hopeful and she puts her trust in Jesus and that's where we all find our strength right now. Just seeing her trust in the Lord and God, it brings us hope and it brings us comfort," says friend Jake Fenton.
The Fire Department also wanted to thank the community for its support and love through this tragedy.
An investigation into what went wrong on Saturday is underway on the local, state and federal levels. Right now the fire department says it is focusing on honoring and laying Brad Harper to rest. They will then focus on the accident.
Funeral Ceremony on
Friday, May 24th at 2:30 p.m. at:
Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV)
7007 W. Happy Valley Road
Peoria, AZ 85383
Procession and Internment to follow at:
Greenwood Memorial Cemetery
719 N. 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009