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Firefighter killed in plane crash is laid to rest



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Thousands of friends, family, and fellow firefighters and paramedics turned out Saturday to remember and say good-bye to one of Salt Lake City's bravest.

Firefighter killed in plane crash is laid to rest

Funeral Mass was held this morning at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City for 25-year-old Dylan Hopkins, who died after the small plane he was in crashed in Wasatch County last week. He was a Salt Lake City firefighter, paramedic and a lot more.

Hopkins' best friend, Patrick Zimmerman, said, "He was my best friend and mentor. He was an older brother to me."

Zimmerman grew up with Hopkins. "He taught me all the important lessons in life and taught me how to have a little fun on the side."

Firefighter killed in plane crash is laid to rest

The black band around badges signified a loss. The bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace" signified Hopkins has moved on.

"Our team is sad," said Capt. Fred Anstee of the Salt Lake City Fire Department. "We have a big hole in our department."

Lance Nielson of the West Valley Fire Department said, "I don't think anything will ever show how much Dylan was cared about."

Firefighter killed in plane crash is laid to rest

Nielson and Hopkins started together with West Valley's fire department. After Hopkins transferred to Salt Lake, they remained good friends.

Nielson says the number of people in attendance Saturday shows that Hopkins meant a lot to so many people. "Just shows what an incredible person he was. Just speaks for itself," he said.

"I'm not surprised at all. He was an incredible, incredible man," Nielson added.

Firefighter killed in plane crash is laid to rest

The most touching part of the service came at the end, when Hopkins' parents were given a U.S. flag and his helmet. Then, he was taken away on one last ride, once again leaving behind so many who loved him.

"It couldn't be a better ending to a perfect life," Nielson said.

Two other off-duty Salt Lake City firefighters were in the plane when it crashed. They are both recovering from injuries sustained in the wreck.

Firefighter killed in plane crash is laid to rest

As for the investigation, officials believe the plane may have lost power. A federal report shows the pilot of the small airplane told a relative the plane lost power and he tried to land in a flat area. A final report will come out next year.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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