Thread: ANGRY firefighter
10-11-2002, 04:37 AM #1
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) - Krstofer Evans is angry that someone's
Halloween prank put him in a wheelchair.
A firefighter in one of the U.S. Forest Service's elite Hot Shot
crews, Evans was trying to extinguish an arson fire in the
Appalachian Mountains last Oct. 31 when the flames toppled a tree
that fell on him.
Dozens of forest fires, believed to have been set by Halloween
pranksters, were burning across the highlands of eastern Kentucky.
One minute, Evans, 31, of Quincy, Calif., was cutting a fire line
in the rugged Red Bird area of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
The next, the 6-foot-6-inch firefighter was on the ground, unable
"My world has shrunk so much since then," Evans said. "There
could be a million dollars sitting right over there, and I couldn't
get it - just because some individual decided to start a fire for
Evans returned to Kentucky this week to participate in a
conference intended to help change the attitudes of Appalachian
Kentucky residents about forest arson.
Forest fires burned about 180,000 acres in Kentucky last year,
destroying timber and sending up smoke so thick that it caused
traffic accidents and sent a flood of patients to hospitals and
doctors' offices with breathing problems. Authorities estimate that
90 percent of those fires were started by arsonists.
"We don't get lightning fires here," said Leah MacSwords,
director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. "Our fires are
human-caused, whether accidentally or intentionally, and all too
often they're intentional."
Dennis Whitehead, a Forest Service law enforcement supervisor,
said he asked each of the seven people arrested on arson charges in
Kentucky last year why they set the fires.
"They said we had nothing better to do," Whitehead said.
"That's a pretty lame excuse."
State and federal officials call the annual outbreak of
wildfires an epidemic, and they're calling on residents of mountain
communities to be vigilant and report arsonists.
Marie Walker, spokeswoman for the Forest Service in Kentucky,
said Evans is evidence that the fires also pose grave risks to
"We can give them the proper safety gear. We can do everything
we can to keep them safe, but what would really keep our
firefighters safe is for the arsonists to stay out of the woods,"
Evans said he would still be able to walk now if not for the
"We were going through a spot where the fire had burned through
a couple of hours before," he said. "The fire had burned into the
trunk of a black locust tree and caused it to fall. At that moment,
memories stopped for 2½ weeks. I woke up in the hospital."
Since then, Evans said he has had time to ponder why residents
of a region as beautiful as central Appalachia would go out each
year and intentionally set fires.
"It's so unbelievable, such a different way of thinking," he
said. "It's hard for me to get my mind around the concept."
On the Net:
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12-02-2002, 11:14 PM #2
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
It's been like that around this time every year for the last 5 or so years.~*Chris McCown*~
FireFighter / Rescue Sergeant / NREMT-P
12-03-2002, 02:59 AM #3
Five Years, think again, I was there in 1985-1986-1987 on a California Hotshot crew doing the exact same thing in Kentucky and north Carolina. Were talking about a major Culural situation there, something needs to happen to break that chain. It been about 17 plus years this has been happeing.
Time to put in some serious PR work to the public and strengthen the punishment for thos who start those fires.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
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