Firefighter killed in crash honored during Saturday service

It was an emotional week for members of the Buckley Fire Department who dealt with the death of one of their veteran firefighters.

Tami Marie Tracy, a 34-year-old firefighter and paramedic, was killed Oct. 30 in a two-car accident near the California-Oregon state line.

On Saturday, firefighters from Buckley and surrounding departments, along with family and friends, attended an 11 a.m. memorial service at the Rainier Hills Christian Church in Buckley.

There was designated parking at the church for fire apparatus from Buckley and neighboring departments. East Pierce Fire and Rescue provided a medic unit with a crew of two firefighter/paramedics to cover Buckley during the memorial service.

Fire Chief Allen Predmore said it’s been a tough time for his department and those who knew the 12-year veteran.

“A lot of people knew Tami,” Predmore said. “She was a very happy and energetic person who was committed to her profession and was involved in the community. She had a passion of helping people and having fun.”

Predmore spent Friday morning gathering photographs for a slide show to honor Tracy.

“One thing about Tami, she always had a smile,” the fire chief said.

Predmore said when at work, Tracy was “all about being professional” and she always looked forward to her next days off work.

She was an experienced mountaineer and skydiver, and in her spare time enjoyed rock climbing, hiking, fishing, skiing, gardening and being with her family.

“She was alway looking for another mountain or another rock to climb, or another fish to catch,” Predmore said. “She enjoyed being outdoors.”

A Buckley fire apparatus, along with assistance from neighboring fire and police agencies, drove east on state Route 410 Wednesday night escorting the body.

Predmore said he sent the fire apparatus to Portland to escort the hearse carrying Tracy’s body. Police from Bonney Lake and Buckley blocked intersections along 410 for the procession.

With lights flashing from the lead vehicles, two crews from East Pierce Fire and Rescue Volunteers stood in their dress uniforms near their fire engine and medic unit at the intersection of 410 and Mundy Loss Road.

They saluted as the hearse drove by, then the vehicles fell in behind the procession with lights flashing.

People along the procession route saluted as the vehicles passed by.

A line of Buckley firefighters, in full firefighter gear, saluted the procession, as it made its way to Weeks Funeral Home in Buckley.

Tracy recently graduate as a registered nurse and was working at Tacoma General Hospital in the emergency room.

In 2008 and 2009, Tracy participated in the annual Scott Firefighters Stairclimb in Seattle.

According to a story in the Siskiyou Daily News, Gerald Lewis DeRose, 78, was driving the wrong way on I-5, caused the accident on the Klamath River Bridge that resulted in his and Tracy’s deaths.

Tracy’s 2008 Toyota Tacoma and DeRose’s vehicle were in the northbound lane when the drivers apparently saw each other and attempted to avoid a collision by changing lanes.

Tracy’s passenger, Diego A. Zuniga, 44, of Olympia, Wash., was transported to Fairchild Medical Center.

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