Firestone explosion victim honored for dedication as girls softball coach

FIRESTONE, Colo. -- An emotional ceremony was held Monday at a Firestone sports complex to honor victims of last month's deadly home explosion.

Joey Irwin was killed in the blast along with his brother-in-law, Mark Martinez, who coached girls softball.

Martinez was remembered after a softball game. His parents, sister and daughter received his jersey during the event from the Carbon Valley Parks and Recreation District.

Martinez's young daughter was reunited with her team before the event.

"He's a good guy. Everybody liked him," longtime friend Tina Munoz said.

Those watching stayed after the first game to watch as Martinez's family receive his jersey. His daughter thanked those in attendance, while his Martinez's offered words of encouragement for the girls.

"Girls, Mark would say get out there," his dad said. "Work hard. But most of all, have fun playing ball."

Martinez and Irwin were killed in a fiery explosion in April. Investigators said a cut flow line from an old energy well is to blame.

As the investigation continues, the family and community are left heartbroken. The grieving has made it difficult for Martinez's mother to speak publicly.

"This is very hard," she said during the ceremony. "We'll get through it with God's love and this family. So, thank you very, very much."

All youth softball teams will be wearing Martinez memorial patches on their jerseys this season, according to the parks and recreation district.

"They understand this season is for coach Mark," Munoz said.

Friends said Martinez's commitment to the girls and game will be forever missed.

During the ceremony, family members said Martinez's widow, Erin Martinez, who was injured in the explosion, got out of surgery on Monday. She is expected to survive her injuries.