Garret Zuppiger, 27

Garret Zuppiger’s heart was always bigger than his red beard.

He and five other Hotshots often worked out together at Captain CrossFit, a gym just across the street from their station. The men would jog in together, already sweating from firefighting training, and jump into another round of punishing exercise. Tony Burris, a trainer, said Mr. Zuppiger was good-natured and never forgot a name. They had a running joke about their beards.

“I’d always make fun of him because it wasn’t as big as mine,” Mr. Burris said. “He’d come in and say, ‘Hey, it grew!’ ”

Mr. Zuppiger’s family could not be reached for comment, but a disabled neighbor told USA Today that Mr. Zuppiger was kind and selfless, always offering to help.

A blog written under his name, last updated in 2011, shows a love of dirt biking and traveling, of climbing mountains with his mother and customizing a skateboard to bear his unusual last name. The name of the blog is, “I’d Rather Be Flying.”

— JACK HEALY
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