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Phoenix firefighter killed on job was newlywed

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Brad Harper. (Source: Phoenix Fire Department) Brad Harper. (Source: Phoenix Fire Department)
GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Brad Harper had known since high school that he wanted to join the fire department. Friends told CBS 5 he was following in the footsteps of his two older cousins.

Two years ago Harper passed the test and was hired. He volunteered to be part of Phoenix's busiest fire unit. But there is a lot more to this young man than his passion for his job.

Jake Fenton smiled as he recalled his first memory of Brad Harper.

"One day we were doing karate out on the playground and I punched him in the face and knocked one of the lenses out of his glasses and after that we were friends," said Fenton.

That was in kindergarten. Countless memories and 18 years later the youth pastor at Community Church of Joy said there was nobody in his life more supportive than he was.

"He was fun. He was awesome. He was my best friend. I love him."

Harper graduated from Northwest Christian School in Glendale. It was there he met the love of his life, Lena. The two dated since 9th grade and were married this past December.

"Brad's kind of a goofy guy. He's pretty tough with the guys but when it comes to Lena he was just mush. She absolutely had his heart," said Fenton.

After church services Sunday Harper's friends didn't go home. Instead they chose to stay together and lean on one another for support.

"His faith in Jesus, his faith in God are ultimately what drove him and made him who he was. Because of his faith and the faith of those around him his friends and family we have hope," said Fenton.

A group prayer will take place at 7:30 a.m. Monday at Northwest Christian School by the flag pole.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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