A California firefighter was killed this week while battling one of the wildfires that has scorched the state in recent weeks.
It's a story of heartbreak for Cory Iverson's wife and 2-year-old daughter, but one that has a glimmer of light through the grief: The 32-year-old and his wife have a second baby on the way.
Iverson’s wife Ashley is due in the spring. And as her family begins to grieve, they have the collective sympathy of those who knew Iverson and a nation that now knows him as a hero.
“We are deeply saddened to have to notify you of a fatality involving one of our firefighters,” Cal Fire San Diego confirmed on social media Thursday.
While it remained unclear exactly how Iverson was killed, officials said he was engaged in a "very active part of the fire” just outside the town of Fillmore when he died.
“Today, Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson has succumbed to fatal injuries while engaged in fire suppression efforts on the Thomas Fire. We ask that everyone take a minute to keep the entire Iverson family and friends in your thoughts and prayers," the Cal Fire San Diego statement read.
The Thomas Fire, still just 30 percent contained, is the fourth-largest blaze in California history.
Firefighters lined the road in tribute Thursday as Iverson's body was transported in a hearse to the Ventura County Medical Examiner.
A GoFundMe page has been established in Ashley's name by a woman who identified herself as a friend.
"As people are asking how they can help, what we know is that they first need your prayers. They also will need help in the coming year as they grieve and learn to adapt to life without Cory," Cecily Bauchmann wrote. "This money will go to Ashley to use as needed—for funeral arrangements, for their girls, for help with the home and the yard, whatever she needs as she grieves and adjusts."