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Two baseball fields dedicated to victims of Firestone home explosion

Joey Irwin and Mark Martinez lost their lives last April in a house explosion. Their community came together Saturday to honor them.

FIRESTONE - In a time of need, it's important for a community to stay strong. For the town of Firestone, strength comes in numbers.

Friends and family of Joey Irwin and Mark Martinez gathered at the Firestone Regional Sports Complex to honor two men who lost their lives last April in a house explosion.

Investigators blame a severed gas line.

Their families say they both had a love for baseball so they are dedicating two fields in their honor.

“It’s been a privilege to honor these two families today,” said Firestone Mayor Paul Sorensen, “I think having these fields named after these two fine gentlemen, I think is a wonderful way to remember them.”

Brothers-in-law Irwin and Martinez loved playing baseball while growing up in the Carbon Valley. Mark Martinez carried that love of baseball into adulthood as a volunteer youth softball coach in the Firestone community.

Joey Irwin's plaque (Photo: Byron Reed)

“They would be so deeply honored here today,” said Erin, Martinez’s wife and Irwin’s sister. ”This memorial encompasses both of their spirits.”

She said they were proud to call Firestone their home because they felt embraced by the community.

“Days like today instill hope and faith in humanity, for many years to come, Mark and Joey’s memory will be alive and this dedication today brings something positive out of an ugly tragedy,” Erin said.

It's a tragedy that’s brought this community together to support a family in their own time of need.

“I get a lot of people who approach me and they say ‘how come you chose to stay here? How come you chose to make your home here again? Wouldn’t it have been easier for you to move somewhere else?’ and I tell them ‘Why would I leave this loving family and this loving community?’ so that’s why we stayed,” Erin said.

The plaque honoring Mark Martinez. (Photo: Byron Reed)