Body of helicopter pilot killed fighting wildfire brought back to SoCal

RANCHO CUCAMONGA (KABC) -- A procession of law enforcement officers and firefighters escorted the body of firefighting pilot Michael Fournier to his home in Rancho Cucamonga.

His family watched from inside vehicles in the procession as firefighters saluted from overpasses and friends waved from sidewalks.

"I just knew how happy my dad was looking down on us today," said Riley Fournier, the victim's daughter. "It made me so happy and brought one of the biggest smiles to my face to see everybody on the overpass."

Michael Fournier, 52, was killed when his helicopter went down last week while fighting the Hills Fire in Western Fresno County last week. He worked for an independent helicopter company contracted by CAL-Fire. The crash is still under investigation by federal authorities.

The procession left Fresno county around 7 a.m. Monday, arriving at the mortuary in Rancho Cucamonga around 12 p.m. Along the way, the procession drove past Fournier's home where dozens of supporters showed their love.

"It didn't feel real until that moment," said daughter Mikena Fournier. "It made my heart feel so big that that's all because of my dad."

Fournier's wife Leanne was presented the flag that covered the casket, along with his wedding ring.

"It's banged up and charred, but it's still strong," said Leanne Fournier. "That's what I'm going to remember: my husband was strong, and he only wanted to take care of us. That was his main goal."

Family mourns loss of Rancho Cucamonga pilot killed in firefighting helicopter crash
EMBED More News Videos

"He's the definition of pure love." A Southern California family is grieving the loss of a husband and father who was killed while fighting a wildfire in Central California.

Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.