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Tom Craven, 30, was the eldest and most experienced of the firefighters who died July 10 in Okanogan County. Craven had been a firefighter for more than a decade, joining the U.S. Forest Service full time after graduating from college and working his way up to crew chief. Craven was one of four brothers battling blazes this summer.

The Ellensburg resident graduated from Cle Elum High School in 1990, where he earned 11 athletic letters — four in football, four in track and three in basketball. He went to the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., where he played football and is remembered for breaking O.J. Simpson's junior-college yardage record, before moving on to Central Washington University. He earned a sociology degree from CWU in 1997.

His father, William Craven, speculated that his son died in the fire because "he stayed with his crew. He stayed with the younger people. He probably could have gotten out by himself. He could run like hell."

For a closer look at Craven, see story.

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