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Jul 7, 2013 5:01 PM by AP

Wreck kills 2 members of New Orleans Fire Dept.

LONG BEACH, Miss. (AP) - Two Louisiana men, both members of the New Orleans Fire Department, were killed early Sunday in a south Mississippi traffic accident.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove identified the victims as Tommy Ashby Jr., 28, of Chalmette, and Scott Blanchard, 27, of Metairie.

Hargrove says Ashby was the driver of a Westbound pickup truck that ran off U.S. Highway 90 at high speed and struck a tree on the median about 1:45 a.m. Blanchard was the front seat passenger. Neither was wearing a seatbelt.

Two other passengers were hospitalized.

Ashby had been a member of the New Orleans Fire Department since September 20, 2007; Blanchard, since August 29, 2010.

"Both members were highly praised by their commanding officers and respected by their peers," Timothy McConnell, interim superintendent for the department, said in a news release. "Although the careers of both men were relatively short, their talents, dedication and potential were obvious and will be missed."

The department said both had volunteered to help restore fire stations damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

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