LemhiWeb Citizen Journalism

MISSOULA, Mont. - A Missoula family is mourning the loss of their 19-year-old son, Trenton Johnson, after he was killed on the job fighting a fire near Seeley Lake Wednesday.

Johnson not only leaves behind his family but great friends and colleagues. Johnson played lacrosse and ran cross-county for Hellgate High School in Missoula. He was a sophomore at Montana State University in Bozeman studying civil engineering.

Thursday officials from Johnson's crew, Grayback Forestry, Inc., spoke through tears about Johnson's hard work and dedication.

"(He was an) excellent young man, excellent moral character," said Grayback Forestry base manager Wayne Turnipseed.

Turnipseed says though he did not work with Johnson for long he could immediately tell the quality of Johnson's character.

"We had great, high hopes for him. He was already showing signs just after a couple of weeks that he was going to be an excellent firefighter," Turnipseed said.

Grayback Forestry president Mike Wheelock immediately flew in from headquarters in southern Oregon when he heard the news Thursday.

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