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  1. #1
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Wildland Firefighters 2001

    Last year I tried to keep up with all the incidents that related to the deaths of individuals involved in Wildland Fire Fighting. Sometimes the incidents were not related to actual fire fighting, such as those individuals, which were killed in a helicopter crash enroute to a school field day activity that was to include the helicopter and crew as a fire prevention display. However, they were performing their assigned duty and they were members of the wildland firefighter family. I am by no means a full-time wildland firefighter, but I do have a very special spot for those individuals that have chosen that field as their profession. They may not make the same amount of pay as some of us and then again they may make more than others. Their actual workdays may be a lot longer than most of us in the structural field and their work year may not be as long, but they are dedicated to their profession. Where those of us in the structural profession we suffer from falls, back injuries and short-term exposures to toxic smoke. They suffer from blown knees, shoulders, and exposure to smoke, ash, and dust for days on end. We all share the same things: one thing we all should agree with, "We love what we do!", "We sometimes may not agree with the 'Politics' that we work with.", and "We all have some areas that we dislikes about the job."

    The one part which I dislike most is reading about the loss of a fellow firefighter be it Wildland or Structural. Each month, I read the statistics to my department membership: Names, ages, positions, and causes of death. Most important to me is that we need to remember those individuals that have given all that they could to the profession. Also it should act as a reminder to the rest of us that no matter what our age, position, or duty it could happen to us.

    With that, I submit to you the 2001 list of Wildland Firefighters that have given all they had. I do not like to post any information to quickly; this is just to make sure that the information is correct. I hope that the list will be short and that all of us shall remember those individuals’ families, fellow workers, friends, and their communities in their times of loss.

    Be Safe This Year
    Assistant Chief Greg Hickman
    Neosho Fire Department
    Missouri


    [ 01-03-2002: Message edited by: Hickman ]



  2. #2
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    USDA Forest Service
    Southern Region - 8
    National Forests in Mississippi
    Homochitto National Forest
    Media Contact: Mary Bell Lunsford
    Ph: 601-384-5876 Cell: 601-660-6322

    For Immediate Release – February 7, 2001

    MEADVILLE, MS -- Employees on the Homochitto National Forest were saddened Tuesday by the sudden death of an employee.

    Mary Lynn Waite, 49, died Tuesday, Feb. 6 after participating in the light level duty "walk test" for Wildland Firefighters. Initial autopsy report attributes her death to an apparent heart attack, Forest Service Officials said. An agency investigation is under way.

    Ms. Waite, a computer assistant, had worked on the Homochitto for about two and half years. She had completed a similar light level duty test last year and participated in support of wildfire suppression last summer. She is survived by her husband Mike Waite, Forestry Technician on the Homochitto Ranger District, and three children.

    For more information, contact Mary Bell Lunsford, Meadville Office, at 601-384-5876 or Wendolyn Young, Jackson Office, at 601-965-4391.


  3. #3
    Captain Hickman
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    Post

    Name: Jay Shaffer
    Rank: Captain
    Age: 47
    Status: Volunteer
    Years of Service: 9
    Date of Incident: 03/17/2001
    Time of Incident: 1400
    Date of Death: 03/17/2001
    Fire Department: Larkspur Fire
    Protection District
    Fire Department Address: 9414 S. Spruce Mountain Rd. PO Box 62,
    Larkspur, CO 80118
    Fire Department Phone: (303) 681-3284
    Fire Department Chief: Keith Mathena
    Email Address: lfpdch161@aol.com

    Cause of Death: Firefighter Shaffer was completing his 3-mile pack test to become certified to fight wildfires in 2001 when he died of an apparent heart attack.
    Funeral: March 24, 2001 at 1330 hours, New Covenant Fellowship, 77 E.Perry Park Ave. Larkspur, CO 80118
    Memorial Fund: Jay Shaffer Memorial Fund, C/o Peoples National Bank,
    1899 Woodmoor Dr., Monument, Co 80132

  4. #4
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy

    Chandler, Jeremy
    Age: 27
    Cause of Death:
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death:
    Status: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 06/18/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 14:16
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 06/18/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    Grant County Fire District #5
    11058 Nelson Rd.
    Moses Lake, Washington 98837
    Chief: Roger Hansen

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Chandler collapsed and died from a cause still to be determined while operating a water tanker fighting a 20-acre brush fire several miles north of Moses Lake. Funeral: Pending, Memorial Fund: Pending

    Jeremy is the son of Oregon State Rep. Gary Chandler.

    Thoughts and Prayers go to Jeremy's Family, Fellow Fire Fighters, Friends, and Community.

    [This message has been edited by Captain Hickman (edited 06-19-2001).]

  5. #5
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I am sorry for missing this one:

    Thompson, William L.
    Age: 21
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 01/12/2001
    Duty Type: Responding/Returning from Alarm
    Incident Time: 15:20
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 01/12/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Street/Road
    Fire Dept. Info:
    Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department
    Route #2
    Hillsboro, Kentucky 41049
    Chief: William Thompson, Sr. (Parent)

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Thompson, while operating a fire tanker in response to a grass fire, lost control of the vehicle which left the roadway striking a utility pole and overturning. In memory, William L. Thompson Agriculture Scholarship Fund c/o Peoples Bank, 106 S. Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY 41041


    [This message has been edited by Captain Hickman (edited 06-19-2001).]

  6. #6
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    Weaver, Devin A.
    Age: 21
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 07/10/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 21:30
    Activity Type: Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 07/10/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service
    Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests
    215 Melody Lane
    Wenatchee, Washington 98801

    Chief: Sonny O'Neal

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Devin A. Weaver; Crew Chief Tom L. Craven; and Firefighters Karen L. Fitzpatrick; and Jessica L. Johnson were killed when they were overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to over 2500 acres within 2 ½ hours.

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  7. #7
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    Johnson, Jessica L.
    Age: 19
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 07/10/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 21:30
    Activity Type: Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 07/10/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service
    Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests
    215 Melody Lane
    Wenatchee, Washington 98801

    Chief: Sonny O'Neal

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Jessica L. Johnson; Crew Chief Tom L. Craven; and Firefighters Karen L. Fitzpatrick; and Devin A. Weaver were killed when they were overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to over 2500 acres within 2 ½ hours.

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  8. #8
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    Fitzpatrick, Karen L.
    Age: 18
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 07/10/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 21:30
    Activity Type: Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 07/10/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service
    Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests
    215 Melody Lane
    Wenatchee, Washington 98801

    Chief: Sonny O'Neal

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Karen L. Fitzpatrick; Crew Chief Tom L. Craven; and Firefighters Devin A. Weaver; and Jessica L. Johnson were killed when they were overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to over 2500 acres within 2 ½ hours.

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  9. #9
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    Craven, Tom L.
    Age: 30
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Crew Chief
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 07/10/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 21:30
    Activity Type: Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 07/10/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service
    Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests
    215 Melody Lane
    Wenatchee, Washington 98801

    Chief: Sonny O'Neal

    Initial Summary: Crew Chief Tom L. Craven; Firefighters Karen L. Fitzpatrick; Devin A. Weaver; and Jessica L. Johnson were killed when they were overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to over 2500 acres within 2 ½ hours.

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  10. #10
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    Gilbert, Doug
    Age: 52
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact
    with Object
    Rank: Pilot
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 07/10/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 11:24
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 07/10/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    Idaho Dept. of Lands
    3702 Industrial Ave.
    Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814

    Chief: Winston Wiggins

    Initial Summary: Pilot Doug Gilbert, flying a single engine air tanker and dropping retardant on the north-central Idaho backcountry while battling a 500-acre fire, was killed when for a cause still to be determined the aircraft crashed.

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  11. #11
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    Stratte, Lars
    Age: 45
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Contract Pilot
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 08/27/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 18:55
    Activity Type: Other
    Death Date: 08/27/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    California Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protect.
    1416 9th Street
    P.O. Box 944246
    Sacramento, California 94244-2460

    Chief: Andrea Tuttle, Director

    Initial Summary: Pilot Stratte was flying an airtanker that collided mid-air with another airtanker flown by Pilot Larry Groff. Both pilots died as a result of the collision.

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: Captain Hickman ]

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  12. #12
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    Groff, Larry
    Age: 55
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Contract Pilot
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 08/27/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 18:55
    Activity Type: Other
    Death Date: 08/27/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protect.
    1416 9th Street
    P.O. Box 944246
    Sacramento, California 94244-2460

    Chief: Andrea Tuttle, Director

    Initial Summary: Pilot Groff was flying an airtanker that collided mid-air with another airtanker flown by Pilot Lars Stratte. Both pilots died as a result of the collision

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: Captain Hickman ]

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  13. #13
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    Kip Krigbaum
    Age: 45
    Cause of Death:
    Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Crew Chief (Contract)
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 08/31/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 09:00
    Activity Type:
    Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Death Date: 08/31/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    U.S. Forest Service-Gallatin Nat'l Forest
    P.O. Box 130
    Bozeman, Montana 59771

    Chief: Rich Inman, Acting Fire Supervisor

    Initial Summary: Crew Chief Krigbaum died after a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire near Emigrant Peak. Pilot Rich Hernandez and Co-Pilot Santi Arovitx also died in the crash.

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: Captain Hickman ]

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  14. #14
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    Rich Hernandez
    Age: 37
    Cause of Death:
    Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Pilot (Contract)
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 08/31/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 09:00
    Activity Type:
    Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Death Date: 08/31/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    U.S. Forest Service-Gallatin Nat'l Forest
    P.O. Box 130
    Bozeman, Montana 59771

    Chief: Rich Inman, Acting Forest Supervisor

    Initial Summary: Pilot Hernandez died after a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire near Emigrant Peak. Co-Pilot Santi Arovitx and Crew Chief Kip Krigbaum also died in the crash.

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: Captain Hickman ]

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  15. #15
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    Santi Arovitx
    Age: 28
    Cause of Death:
    Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Co-Pilot (Contract)
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 08/31/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 09:00
    Activity Type:
    Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Death Date: 08/31/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    U.S. Forest Service-Gallatin Nat'l Forest
    P.O. Box 130
    Bozeman, Montana 59771

    Chief: Rich Inman, Acting Fire Supervisor

    Initial Summary: Co-Pilot Arovitx died after a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire near Emigrant Peak. Pilot Rich Hernandez and Crew Chief Kip Krigbaum also died in the crash.

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: Captain Hickman ]

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  16. #16
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    Rendek, David Ray
    Age: 24
    Cause of Death:
    Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 09/03/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 10:00
    Activity Type:
    Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 09/03/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: N/A
    Fire Dept. Info:
    Bitterroot National Forest
    1801 North First
    Hamilton, Montana 59840-3114
    Chief: Spike Thompson, Dep. Forest Supervisor

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Rendek was struck by a falling tree while fighting a wildfire in Bitterroot National Forest.

    This came across my desk from "Willoughby". So I'll clip it here... Thanks "Will"
    September 08, 2001

    Tearful Farewell

    [ 09-10-2001: Message edited by: Captain Hickman ]
    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it...but, maybe we had better take a closer look at it."

  17. #17
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    Harold Strode
    Age: 46
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 11/10/2001
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time:
    Activity Type: Cutting Fire Breaks (Wildland)
    Death Date: 11/10/2001
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property
    Fire Dept. Info:
    Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture
    Division of Forestry
    Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture
    P.O. Box 40627
    Nashville, Tennessee 37204
    Chief:
    Commissioner of Agriculture Dan Wheeler

    Initial Summary: Firefighter Strode was killed while working a wildland fireline when he was overcome by a firestorm in the densely wooded and steep terrain of the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee.

  18. #18
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    Clifford White Jr.
    Rank: Firefighter
    Age: 21
    Status: Volunteer
    Years of Service: 2
    Date of Incident: 11/19/2001
    Time of Incident: 1410 hrs
    Date of Death: 11/19/2001
    Fire Department: Cameron Volunteer Fire Department
    Fire Department Address: 44 Main Street, Cameron, WV 26033
    Fire Department Phone: (304) 686-2400
    Fire Department Chief:
    Larry Hartley
    Cause of Death:
    Firefighter White was a passenger in a tanker enroute to a woodland fire when the apparatus left the roadway and overturned,
    killing him.
    Viewing:
    Graisell Funeral Home, 400 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, WV,
    11/21/01 - 1900-2100 hrs, 11/22/01 - 1400-1600 & 1900-2100 hrs
    Funeral:
    Salem Church, Roberts Ridge, WV, 11/23/01 @ 1300 hrs
    Memorial Fund:
    C/O Cameron Volunteer Fire Department, 44 Main Street, Cameron, WV 26033

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

    [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Hickman ]

  19. #19
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    It has been a very sad year for the fire service with the loss of so many our fellow firefighters. If you have been following the information here, you can see that there were 17 firefighters which gave lives in they preparation and performance of the duties of the wildland firefighter. I am sorry to say that I missed one and the total number that I am aware of will be 18. The one I missed was not posted by the United States Fire Administration since he was an individual working for a Contractor with the U.S. Forest Service. If I have missed any others, let me know. I will add the individual to the list shortly. Some were member of local fire departments, some were full-time wildland firefighters, some were employed by private contractors, but all were firefighters. It will take me a little time to come up with information dealing with the incidents reported, but I will post information here. I am not for sure if it is important to post such information, but somewhere, sometime, maybe an individual will stop and think about what they have read. Maybe that small thought will alter and individuals actions in to a Safe Outcome of an Incident.
    Thank you for your time.
    Hickman

    [ 01-03-2002: Message edited by: Hickman ]


  20. #20
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    Here’s what I have ended up with for Line-of-Duty Deaths for individuals involved in Wildland Fire. And, like usual, I have a different set of numbers than the Federal Government, I came up with 18 individuals. As I stated at the beginning of the year, not all involved in actual fire suppression, but were involved in the required duties of a Wildland Firefighter.
    The one individual that was not listed was a firefighter working for a company that had contracted with Federal or State Agency to provide fire suppression equipment and manpower for wildland fires. Brad Lee Bishop, 25, who was killed when his engine ran off the road and struck a rock embankment on September 7, 2001. He was working on the Lost Fork / Monarch Fire, which was located on the Lewis and Clark National Forest near White Sulphur Springs, Montana. As stated in the report possible cause was falling asleep while driving.

    Average Age of Firefighter: 33.8 years
    Causes:
    2-Stress/exertion
    10-Struck by or in contact with
    5-Caught by or trapped by fire
    1-Illness unknown
    Rank:
    12-Firefighters
    4-Pilots (3 fixed wings & 1 rotary wing)
    1-CoPilot (rotary wing)
    1-Crew Chief (rotary wing)
    Cause of Death:
    5-Burns (overran by fire)
    2-Heart Attacks
    1-Unknown
    10-Internal Trauma (3-apparatus accidents,
    1-falling accident, 3-fixed wing operations,3-rotary wing accident)
    Status:
    4-Volunteer
    13-Career
    1-Seasonal
    Duty:
    2-Nonemergency
    15-Emergency
    1-Unknown
    Duty Type:
    13-Fireground Operations
    3-Responding/Returning
    2-Physical Testing
    Type of Activity:
    6-Cutting firebreaks
    2-Fire Attack
    6-Driving/Operating Equipment
    1-Riding Equipment
    2-Physical Testing (1-Walk Test,1-Pack Test)
    States where incident occurred:
    5-Washington 2-California 1-Kentucky
    5-Montana 1-Colorado 1-West Virginia
    1-Tennessee 1-Mississippi 1-Idaho

    Now that 2002 has started, may we all be SAFE this year and be aware that it only takes a second for things to go wrong. HEADS UP

    Hickman

    [ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: Hickman ]


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