Emotional memorial service for firefighter Brad Harper - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Emotional memorial service for firefighter Brad Harper

Brad Harper & wife Brad Harper & wife

Firefighter Brad Harper was killed in an accident while battling a mulch fire in south Phoenix.

People packed Christ's Church of the Valley Friday for Brad Harper's funeral service.

He is being remembered as a fun-loving, athletic guy who loved his family, friends, and being a firefighter.

23-year-old Harper knew he wanted to be a firefighter since he was a teenager. His untimely death has shaken not just family and friends but the entire department.

"Brad passed away doing what he loved to do. And he had mentioned if he died on the job -- dying on the job would be an honorable death and he mentioned that just a couple months before he was to pass away," said high school friend Bobby Priest.

"We're here to hurt with you, we're here to walk with you, we're here to be with you. And on behalf of Brad's friends and their families we deeply love you," said best friend Jake Fenton.

Brad and his wife Lena were just married in December after dating all through high school.

"High school sweetheart who marries one of the most handsome firefighters in the Phoenix Fire Department -- it's a Hollywood story. I don't know what to say. And I see the pictures and you're just so perfect," said Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan.

Along with tears, there was also some laughter as Brad's friends since high school -- and fellow firefighters also shared their memories.

"There's only one thing that I could think of that Brad would give me a hard time about today. And that is our senior year when we were playing our rival team in football. I knocked the game winning touchdown pass out of his hand because I thought he was on the other team. And I'm sorry Brad," Priest laughed.

His friends say not only was Brad a fitness fanatic who worked out every day, but he was also quick thinking and a problem solver which made him an ideal firefighter.

That's why his loss is being felt by the entire community. People who never met Brad Harper lined the procession route to pay their respects.

FOX 10's Marc Martinez and Kristen Keogh report.

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