California firefighter Darin Banks killed by falling tree honored in convoy to bring his body home


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A convoy brought home the body of a contract wildland firefighter Friday who was killed by a falling tree in California last week.

The convoy escorted the body of Darin Banks, 26, on Friday from Modesto to a mortuary in his home city of Red Bluff, 125 miles north of Sacramento. Firefighters from several local agencies saluted Banks along the 200-mile journey. 

Banks worked for Firestorm Wildlife Suppression Inc. and was killed May 6 while assigned to a hand crew preparing an area for a prescribed burn in Tuolumne County.

He left behind a 4-year-old son, Jess Willis, president of the Chico-based company, said in a statement. 


“Darin was the example of ‘smile through a bad day.’ I can still see his smile every day I wake up,” Joss Williams, a member of Banks’ crew and a close friend, told KRCR-TV. “He would joke…if he could get you to smile, he’d get you to smile. And if you tried to fight that smile, he’d go after it until he got it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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