FIREFIGHTERS formed a guard of honour today to farewell fallen comrade Katie Peters, who died battling a bushfire in the North East.
More than 600 friends and family from the tight-knit community packed the small Eskdale Hall to say goodbye, with grieving mourners spilling on to the main street, the Herald Sun reports.
The 19-year-old was described as "cheeky and sweet'' a mourners laughed and cried when friends told the crowd stories of a girl who like to play practical jokes and was loved by everyone she met.
Many people could not hold back the tears as they saw the a pure white coffin topped with an bouquet of lilies.
"Katie was renowned for her cheeky sense of humour,'' said uncle Craig Spencer.
"We will miss Katie for the rest of our lives. Our family will never feel complete without her by our sides.''
Few dry eyes could be found when they heard of Ms Peters sitting at dinner with her father every night, when she would lovingly tap him on the arm with her knife and motion to the jug in the middle of the table.
Without words he would pour his daughter a cup of milk.
Among the mourners were Ms Peters' boyfriend, friends and Chief Fire Officer Alan Goodwin.
Mourners wore green ribbons to signify Katie's commitment to fighting the fires that threatened her community.
When her coffin was carried to the hearse DSE firefighters, CFA members and school students formed an impromptu guard of honour down the main street.
Her coffin was taken to the to the Mitta Mitta Cemetery, where she was buried next to her childhood friend Georgia Smith, 6, who died after she was crushed in a car by a falling gum tree.
Ms Peters had joined the DSE with three friends and was fighting the fires in Harrietville-Alpine north area on February 13, when a tree fell on her vehicle at 3.30pm.
Emergency services could not get to the scene until hours later because of the remoteness of the area and the raging fire.
Corryong man Steven Kadar, 29, also died in the incident.
Ms Peters was known as the baby in the DSE crew. Friends said that although she was small and sweet she was never afraid of anything.Police and the coroner are investigating the deaths that have rattled the tight-knit community.
Read more at the Herald Sun.