CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Dies While On Duty

A CAL FIRE battalion chief died after suffering a medical emergency while on duty Saturday night.

Battalion Chief Rob Van Wormer was working on an investigation in Santa Cruz when he lost consciousness, according to The Santa Cruz Sentinel.

He was transported to Dominican Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8 p.m.

The 47-year-old has been with CAL FIRE for 24 years and was assigned to Santa Clara County, where he headed the fire prevention unit.

"He has a long history of doing some pretty high-profile fire investigations, and also has a long history in the Cal Fire air program," Cal Fire spokeswoman Angela Bernheisel told the newspaper. "I've been getting many, many calls from people to say how sorry and shocked they are. He touched a lot of people and was just one of those incredibly likeable guys."

Van Wormer is survived by his wife and two sons.

His brother, Kirk, is a battalion chief for Cal Fire's Sonoma Lake/Napa unit.

Funeral arrangements are pending. will provide more information on this story as it becomes available.