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Idaho Guard To Hold Memorial For Members Killed In Donnelly Fire

Major Chris Borders
Idaho National Guard
Sergeant First Class Erin Smith maneuvers an Abrams M1A2 tank south of Boise.

The Idaho National Guard will hold a memorial for the four people who died in a cabin fire last Friday.

Adjutant General Major General Gary L. Sayler says the Guard will hold the memorial for Lt. Col. James E. Harper III and his son JJ, and 1st Sgt. Erin R. Smith and daughter Autumn. 

“It is with great sadness that I extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those suffering from this recent and tragic loss,” Sayler said.

The ceremony will be held at the Gowen Field Memorial Park on Sunday at 9 a.m. Family and friends, along with all Idaho Military Division personnel are invited to attend.

The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating the Donnelly fire. Officials are focusing on a propane-fueled fireplace and say foul play is not suspected. They say a definitive cause of the fire could take several weeks as the investigation continues.

Neighbors tried to rescue the people in the cabin near Tamarack Resort but were overwhelmed by the intense smoke and heat of the fire.

Sgt. Erin R. Smith was the nation’s first female enlisted soldier to graduate from M1 tanker school. She enlisted in Idaho’s Guard in 2001 as a combat medic and was deployed to Bosnia and Iraq. In tanker school, she learned how to operate the M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams tank.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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