National News

Seal Beach family grieves loss of Arizona firefighter Kevin Woyjeck

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

After 19 firefighters were killed battling a fierce blaze in Yarnell, Ariz., the local family of one of those men is sharing what made him so special.

Kevin Woyjeck, 21, of Seal Beach, had firefighting in his genes. His father, Joe Woyjeck, was a captain with Los Angeles County Fire.

Joe says his son knew at an early age he wanted to become a firefighter and did everything right to get ready for his profession - and he knew the dangers.

"He called the house around 6:45 in the morning, my wife actually took the call, and he said 'There's a fire in Yarnell, I'm going to be headed that way'" said Joe, pausing. "...And so we never heard from him again."

Kevin's family and friends are now left grieving.

"We cannot tell you our grief. We are so sorry for everybody who loved Kevin because there are so many people who loved Kevin, and so many friends who are heartbroken," said his mother, Anna Woyjeck.

Beyond being a firefighter, Kevin was an older brother to two siblings. His 16-year-old sister, Maddie, says there are so many things she will miss about her brother.

"I'm going to miss his smile, his laugh, the way he said 'I love you,' and he was so outgoing, he could walk into a room and just start a fire inside of somebody," she said.

Kevin was an Angels fan. His father now proudly wears his son's baseball cap. But fishing was Kevin's other passion, and his family plans to honor his memory through his favorite pastime.

"His brother came up with the idea about having a charity fishing tournament for him, so I think that's what we are going to end up doing," Joe said.

Three other firefighters lost in the blaze were also from California: Christopher MacKenzie, 30, of Hemet, Billy Warneke, 25, of Hemet and Sean Misner, 26, of Santa Ynez.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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