Family, friends recall firefighter killed in crash

HENDERSON - Mourners turned out Tuesday to pay their respects to a 29-year-old firefighter killed when a helicopter crashed while battling the 3,600-acre Charlie fire in Elko County.

Phillip ''Pip'' Conner of Las Vegas was a seasonal firefighter with the National Park Service at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. He died when the contract helicopter he was on crashed shortly after takeoff Thursday night.

''Pip's enthusiasm and love for his work as a firefighter was an inspiration to others on the team,'' said Alan O'Neill, superintendent of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Conner was the first person to die in the latest series of Western fires and the first to die in a Nevada wildfire since 1986.

Co-workers remembered Conner as a hard worker who always had a smile on his face.

The helicopter was operated by Rogers Helicopters of Clovis, Calif., and was under contract with the Interior Department for firefighting.

The helicopter and a three-man crew had been carrying water and supplies at the Charlie fire in Elko County and was returning to Wells for the night when the accident occurred.

The Interior Department's Office of Aviation Safety and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.


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