Fireman 028 _ csJpg activity on Novato 10/30/03.Albert Curtiss (left, white jersey), Novato Fire zone engineer, and captain Jeff Beliquette (center, white jersey) after 38-year-old engineer Steven Luk, they were hugged by family and firefighters today when they returned to Novato Fire Zone 1 from the Southern California fire, and on Wednesday, during a fire in San Diego County, he was killed in the fight against the fire, several others were injured.Captain Doug McDonald, 48, 35, engineer Sean Kreps and fireman28-year-old caregiver Barrett Smith was burned when he was burned by a Cedar Fire.When engine 6185 was returned to the station after being escorted by CHP, fellow firefighters applauded and then took turns hugging the returning strike team.Chris Stewart/Chronicle Jeff willeckett, center and Albert Curtis in a white jersey were all warmly welcomed.Lessfirefigoun012_cs.Jpg activity on Novato 10/30/03.Albert Curtiss (left, white jersey), Novato Fire zone engineer, and captain Jeff Beliquette (center, white jersey) after 38-year-old engineer Steven Luk, they were hugged by family and firefighters today when they returned to Novato Fire Zone 1 from the Southern California fire, and on Wednesday, during a fire in San Diego County, he was killed in the fight against the fire, several others were injured.Captain Doug McDonald, 48, 35, engineer Sean Kreps and fireman28-year-old caregiver Barrett Smith was burned when he was burned by a Cedar Fire.When engine 6185 was returned to the station after being escorted by CHP, fellow firefighters applauded and then took turns hugging the returning strike team.Chris Stewart/Chronicle Jeff willeckett, center and Albert Curtis in a white jersey were all warmly welcomed.Just a few days ago, three firefighters set off from Novato to Southern California to fight like soldiers.On Thursday, under the leadership of a captain, only two of the seven firefighters came back.When they came home, they endured the hugs and tears of the strong men.They left four people in Southern California.One of the 38-year-Old Steven Rucker, who drives one of the engines and runs pumping equipment, will never return to Novato.The fire hit his crew on Wednesday, killing him and injuring three of his companions.He left his wife Catherine and two children, Christine, 7, and Wesley, 2.For the entire town of Novato, it's like a dead family, a beautiful small city of about 50,000 people, close to the rolling hills in the northern part of Marin County, it is also home to hundreds of firefighters and police in the Bay Area.People there know what it means to put your life in danger."It affects everyone," said Marcy Johnson, a registered nurse at the Oakland Police Department."Very close to home.Johnson recalls an old story in which one of Novato's four houses is a policeman or fireman.It's almost a small company town."This is the safest city in Marin," she said ."Johnson took a cuckoo and came to the fire station where the citizens of Novato built a small shrine.Firefighters posted a photo of Rucker, a smiling man named "fireman's fireman."At the center of the memorial is a folded American flag, near a heavy voting coat, a pair of boots and a black fire helmet from rUK."He is everyone's best friend," said fireman Tom Gork ."."I will not do anything for him.He won't do anything for me."Mourning for the dead at the fire station and worrying about the three injured ---Capt.Doug Macdonald is in critical condition at a San Diego hospital, engineer Sean Kreps and fireman Barrett Smith.McDonald's has burned 27% of his body and suffered severe smoke inhalation injuries."But he did a good job ."Daniel Lozano of the burn department at the University of California San Diego Medical Center."We hope to get him off the ventilator in the next two to three days.Kreps and Smith were slightly injured. nothing.They asked to be an honorary guard to bring Steve Luk's body back to Novato.There are also relief-Sorrow and relief-Seven people back on Thursday.They 've been fighting in San Bernardino, only a few miles from where the crew of the San Diego County Luke is overwhelmed.They also served for a while from Saturday.Luke's crew headed south Monday night.When two enginesA red and white Novato rig and an old yellow spare engine-Almost the entire Novato Fire area staff were pulled to the fire station and solemnly applauded.Two engines were escorted over Richmond.San Rafael Bridge, California Highway Patrol.At one time in Marin County, firefighters and police from other towns stood on the side of the road to salute.Their wives and children met with them and they kissed and hugged them.Other firefighters and police hugged them in turn.It's like a funeral scene where mourners support each other.Novato's deputy fire chief, Dan north, said earlier that many of his firefighters felt sad and guilty, and he hugged the men in turn.He wiped his eyes.He looks like he's blaming himself."Maybe," he said earlier, "Maybe we can do better.You ask yourself, "Have we all given them what they need to know?"Many firefighters feel guilty," he said."It may be us."After a while, captain.Jeff veckett came out of the main fire station with his wife Lori and his children.Veliquette is the leader of the team returning on Thursday and is also the top ranking official.He and his wife stood in front of the monument in honor of Steve Luk, with the baby under Lori's arm.They stood up, hugged and looked at the pictures of the dead firemen.Lori put her face into her husband's chest and sobbed silently.Also didn't say a wordOf course they know Luke.In the fire department, staff are as close as family and brothers.The northern chiefs call it "bonds "."You trust each other with your life."These are tough guys," said Michael Poole, a retired Novato police officer, who is offering grief counseling to firefighters and their families."They hit the door and they saved the fire.It's hard for them to grieve.It's like they need permission to grieve."What we care about is our strength," he said ."If we care too much, it is our weakness."It is clear that the citizens of Novato are also very concerned.Half of the town's staff carry flags.The fire station was almost overwhelmed by flowers and gifts.Some people brought food.Novato Fire area flooded by phone and emailmails.Almost every fire department in the country has telephones.A fire captain, mass at Worcester.Said he would be on the next plane if there was anything he could help."The fire department is really a big international family," Poole said ."."This is a real tragedy for the town," said Mayor Mike di George ."."We live here, we work here, we know them.He said that the city wants to do something and do something to commemorate it."It's too early to decide what to do," he said ."."Novato is a small community," says Carole Dillon ."Knutson, a member of the city council, said, "We will work together when we encounter tragedy."Firefighters and their families will come together," said former Poole.cop.Over the years, he said, memories of the event "will disappear and fade like an old photo "."But it will always exist," he said .""It will be there all the time."A trust fund has been set up for Steve Luke and Doug McDonald.Donations can be delivered to Marin Bank, 1450 Grant Avenue., Novato, CA 94945.