Life Of Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett Celebrated Monday
Aug 20, 2018, 4:16 PM
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The family and friends of Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matt Burchett celebrated his life at the Maverick Center Monday before he was buried in Provo.
Burchett died Aug. 13 fighting wildfires in California as part of a Utah firefighting task force.
Burchett worked with the Unified Fire Authority for two decades before taking a job with Draper Fire several months ago to head up its wildland firefighting program. Those who worked with him closely said he left his mark on firefighting in Utah.
“He was a pretty special man,” said Eric Holmes with the Unified Fire Authority.
“He wanted to understand everything. In that process, he never stopped mentoring other people.”
Holmes worked dozens of shifts with Battalion Chief Burchett over the last decade: chasing fires, eating meals at the fire station and sharing thoughts.
His fellow firefighters said Burchett always served above and beyond the call of duty. He put exceptional effort and focus into his work, his family and the people in this community who needed him.
Most firefighters who worked with him wanted to be like him.
“He was an amazing leader,” said Holmes. “He was an amazing mentor for hundreds of firefighters both on the wildland and structure sides.”
Burchett was a humble leader, Holmes said, who was always a few steps ahead of everyone else.
“He was a good friend,” he said. “He was just an all-around great man.”
On his downtime, the firefighters said, Burchett was still working to be a better firefighter.
“That’s why he was so loved and respected in the fire service,” said Holmes.
Burchett was a driven athlete who, with his brother Dominic, also a firefighter at UFA, challenged the firefighters around them to dig deeper in their workouts.
His firefighting colleagues said Burchett held high expectations for himself and everyone around him that will endure in the fire departments where he served.
“He wanted to understand everything,” said McFarland. “In that process, he never stopped mentoring other people.”
“A loss like this is going to be felt for a really long time,” added Holmes. “There are still people out there right now running calls while we’re here honoring him. That’s what he would’ve wanted.”