KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – A 21-year-old Oregon firefighter fell at a wildland fire scene in Klamath County and died, apparently from a broken back.
According to KOBI-TV, Matthew David Goodnature, of Phoenix, Ore., was taking a break while fighting the Launch Fire near Fourmile Lake in Klamath County, when he apparently stepped on a rock, slipped and fell on a downed tree. He struck the lower part of his back which appears to have broken causing his death.
Authorities say there’s no evidence to suggest it was nothing more than an accident, according to the television station.
Judy Goodnature, the fallen firefighter’s mother, told the media it was her son’s second season fighting wildland fires and he loved his job and his crew.
Matthew Goodnature was a 2011 graduate from Phoenix High School and had recently moved from Portland, Ore., to Medford, Ore.
"The Forest [Service] and the entire wildland fire community are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our firefighters,”said Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest in a statement released to the media. “Our hearts go out to their family, friends and co-workers.”
As of Wednesday night, The Launch Fire, one of four to erupt in a day, had charred at least 75 acres and firefighter had made no containment of the fire, according to the newspaper “The Oregonian,” from Portland.