Inmate Firefighter Killed in Line of Duty
November 24, 2010
GORMAN, Calif. — A truck carrying a prison inmate fire crew collided with a car on a narrow highway north of Los Angeles on Tuesday, killing one inmate and one person from the car and leaving a dozen people injured, authorities said.
The car and truck crashed at 2:20 p.m. on Highway 138 near Interstate 4 south of Gorman, Los Angeles County fire Inspector Matt Levesque said.
Most of the injured were crew members and the majority were in critical condition, Levesque said.
They were taken to several different local trauma centers, he said. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
The crew was one of four based at a camp near the crash site in San Francisquito Canyon in Saugus, Levesque said. The county and the California Department of Corrections work together to maintain 10 such camps throughout LA county.
The camps are the long-term home for the inmates, who help battle wildfires, and work on fuel clearing and construction projects when major fires are not burning.
An aerial view of a crash site where a truck carrying a prison inmate fire crew collided with a car on a narrow highway north of Los Angeles (AP Photo)
“These members spend entire days together, they fight fire together, so for them they are a very close-knit crew,” Levesque said. “When something like this happens, it’s just like another firefighter that goes down. It’s a very tragic accident.”
In August 2009, a veteran county fire captain and a foreman who led one of the inmate camp crews were killed when their truck plunged off a mountain road as they were trying to find an escape route for the inmates during the massive Station Fire.
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