- Associated Press - Thursday, March 24, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - A Tempe firefighter is being publicity shy after being photographed saving an American flag from a fire outside a Phoenix recycling center.

Captain/medic Nick Ells was among 150 by firefighters who battled the wind-driven fire for hours Tuesday.

A photograph circulated later on social media showed a firefighter still in his gear at the scene, clutching a water-soaked flag that’s also draped over his left shoulder.

Tempe Fire officials on Thursday identified the firefighter in the photo as Ells, a 10-year veteran with its Fire Medical Rescue Department.

They say Ells doesn’t want to be interviewed about saving the flag.

In a statement, Ells says when he saw that the flag could be damaged from smoke, he took it down from its pole “to get it out of harm’s way.”

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