Robert Caldwell, Fallen Firefighter: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Robert Caldwell, 23, is one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots out of Prescott, Arizona, who perished battling the Yarnell Hill Fire that also claimed the lives of 18 of his colleagues.

Here’s what you need to know about this hero…

1. He Was From the Philadelphia Area

Caldwell was born in the small town of Richboro in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Caldwell’s family moved to Arizona about 18 years ago.

2. He was the Cousin of Another Hotshot

Grant Mckee prescott arizona yarnell fire hotshot

Grant McKee in 2009 Via Jason Soifer/The Daily Courier

Adding to the already close-knit group that was the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Caldwell was bonded to fellow Hotshot Grant McKee by blood. The two were first cousins, and the Caldwell family is grieving for both of the fallen firefighters.

3. He Had a Wife

Robert Caldwell firefighter hotshot prescott arizona

Robert Caldwell’s wife crying at Prescott’s memorial service Monday night. (Getty)

Robert Caldwell’s wife, Claire, whom he married last November, provided one of the saddest pictures from Monday night’s memorial service in Prescott. The above picture shows Claire Caldwell weeping. Caldwell reportedly loved and was a great father to Claire’s son and his stepson, Zion, 5.

Pay tribute to a hero.

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4. He Was a Die-Hard Philadelphia Sports Fan
Robert Caldwell Arizona prescott firefighter hotshots

(<a href="The Daily Courier ” target=”_blank”>NBC10 Philadelphia )

According to an NBC interview with Robert Caldwell’s father, he and his son regularly returned to their home state of Pennsylvania to attend Philadelphia sporting events. Caldwell’s father even recalls that at their final dinner together, the night before his son left to go fight his final fire, he was wearing a Philadelphia Phillies shirt that said “Hating the Mets Until I Die.”

5. Only the Most Elite Can Be on a Hotshot Crew

Hotshot crew forest fire

A California Hotshot crew works their way into the wilderness.

The Hotshots are like the Navy SEALs of firefighters. Inter-agency Hotshot Crews are groups that specialize in going into fire areas on foot and removing things from their paths that will help prevent the spread and growth of the fire.

The role of the Hotshot is described as:

The name was in reference to being in the hottest part of fires. Their specialty is wildfire suppression, but they are sometimes assigned other jobs, including search and rescue and disaster response assistance. Hotshots not busy fighting fire will also work to meet resource goals on their home units through thinning, prescribed fire implementation, habitat improvement or trail construction projects.

Crews often need to hike many miles to get to the areas where they will be working, carry all of their supplies on their back, and can sometimes work over 12 hours a day.

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