Pa. firefighters mourn teen colleagues

Associated Press / January 28, 2010

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ZELIENOPLE, Pa. - Two teenage volunteer firefighters who were reported missing after they didn’t show up for a training drill for their small-town department died along with a friend when their sport utility vehicle slid off a road and into an icy western Pennsylvania pond.

The bodies of firefighters Elijah Lunsford and Sam Bucci, both 18 and students at Seneca Valley High School along with the third victim, 17-year-old Trevor Barkley, were pulled from the pond yesterday morning, Zelienople’s fire chief, Rob Reeb, said.

The Butler County coroner determined all three drowned. The cause of the crash was still under investigation yesterday, but officials said speeding did not appear to be a factor. Lunsford’s family owned the Ford Explorer, but it wasn’t immediately clear who was driving, he said.

Lunsford and Bucci didn’t show up for their weekly drill meeting Tuesday night, leading worried colleagues and relatives to call around in an effort to find them. The Fire Department responded to a call early yesterday of an overturned vehicle that police had found, and divers from a neighboring county recovered the bodies over the next several hours.