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Off-duty firefighter, accompannying teen killed in fall on Camelback Mountain

PHOENIX — An off-duty firefighter died Friday after falling on Camelback Mountain.

Phoenix Fire said 50-year-old engineer paramedic Gary Johnstone and two 15-year-old boys were about 200 feet up the Echo Canyon Trail around 7 a.m. Friday when they fell about 30 feet. Johnstone was taken to a hospital where he later died.

One of the boys, Trevor Crouse, was taken to Phoenix Children’s Hospital in extremely critical condition, but was pronounced deceased late Friday.

The other teen was taken to a third area hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The hikers were rescued from Camelback Mountain early Friday morning, two of them unconscious when crews found them.

“This is a person who loved his job very much,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in a press conference.

Johnstone, a 25-year veteran, was a member of the Phoenix Fire Department Honor Guard.

“He loved his job, he loved his community and he lived to serve us,” said Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner.

The relationship between Johnstone and the teens has not been determined.

Authorities say it appears all three were in the middle of a rappelling or rock climbing maneuver when the accident occurred. Homicide detectives have ruled out foul play.

KTAR’s Jim Cross, Martha Maurer and Paul Ihander and the Associated Press contributed to this report.