KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK)– A West Virginia forester killed while on the frontlines of a fire was brought home in a procession of first responders Saturday evening.

The procession began in Charleston and took Forester Cody Mullens, 28, of Mt. Hope, to a funeral home in Nicholas County. Mullens was killed on April 13, 2023, by a falling tree while fighting a forest fire in Fayette County.

Community members lined the route as Mullens made his final journey home to honor his legacy “the right way.” A hearse carrying Mullens body was followed closely by a caravan of fire, EMS, police and other emergency agencies.

Mullens’ close friend Jack Spencer spoke with WOWK 13 News over the phone while following the procession.

“There’s an outpouring of love and support for this young man,” Spencer said. “It makes you feel good to know that people actually care about what we do.”

Photo Courtesy: WV Department of Forestry

After nearly two hours on the road, Cody was finally home, welcomed by the Stars and Stripes and more first responders saluting as they drove by. Cody’s cousin, Larry Mullens watched the procession and says all of the support they’ve received has been truly amazing and comforting to the family.

“I just want to thank everybody for coming out and supporting him,” said Larry Mullens. “I think it is honorable. He deserves all the respect he could, losing his life the way he did.”

The fire that took Cody’s life was contained shortly before 6 p.m. Friday evening, according to the West Virginia Division of Forestry. However, fire officials said it is being monitored, and could take a couple days to completely burn out.

The fire spread across thousands of acres. A man accused of setting the fire that killed Mullens has been arrested and is facing felony charges of wildland arson and murder.