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Friends and family remember firefighter killed in plane crash



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Funeral arrangements are being made today for a firefighter who died in a plane crash Friday afternoon.

Three off-duty Salt Lake City firefighters were in that plane when it went down. The other two are still in the hospital recovering from their injuries.

Dylan Hopkins, 25, loved lots of things in life: the outdoors, skiing, river rafting, hiking; that was all fun to him. So was his job as firefighter and a paramedic.

He did a lot of things in his career, but if there's one way to best describe him, his family and friends say it's his dedication to everything he did. Hopkins' friend Patrick Zimmerman said, "He took good care of everybody."

Another friend of Hopkins, Lance Nielson, said, "Dylan was one of the good guys, no matter what it came to."

Friends and family remember firefighter killed in plane crash

Nielson and Zimmerman are wondering what life is going to be like without him. "I was proud to be his friend because of the character he instilled in me," Zimmerman said.

Hopkins was killed Friday after the plane he was in crashed near Soapstone Mountain in Wasatch County near Kamas. He and two of his fellow Salt Lake City firefighters, Bryon Meyer and pilot Craig Weaver, were on their way to Colorado for a relaxing weekend.

His family says he loved spending time with his friends and co-workers just about as much as he loved his job and helping people.

Hopkins' uncle Tom Yeager said, "He was probably born to be a firefighter and a paramedic."

Friends and family remember firefighter killed in plane crash

Yeager says no matter what the situation, if help was needed somewhere, you could expect Hopkins to be there. Yeager said, "There's a void that you can't fill, and it's that way with his family and friends. He's just such an awesome person. I don't know what you say about that."

All three firefighters were members of Station No. 5 in Salt Lake. That's the station for heavy rescue type operations: the best of the best. No doubt, they're all dealing with some very tough emotions right now.

Today, Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker ordered flags of all Salt Lake City fire stations be flown at half-staff in honor of Hopkins.

Becker said, "Dylan Hopkins was a committed, dedicated public servant. On behalf of Salt Lake City, I extend deep sympathy to the Hopkins family and gratitude for Dylan's life of service.

"I also send condolences to Dylan's firefighting family at Station Number 5," added the Mayor, "and express my wishes for the healthy recovery of Firefighters Meyer and Weaver."

Flags will be flown at half-staff in Salt Lake City until after Hopkins' funeral.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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