California firefighter dies after suffering chain saw injury

Frank Anaya
Frank Anaya

A California firefighter died July 11 in a hospital from injuries he suffered July 5 while fighting a wildfire near Lakeside in Southern California.

The inmate firefighter with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation based at the La Cima Conservation Camp was throwing cut brush during line construction operations when he lost his balance and fell into a running chainsaw. He suffered a severe cut to his upper right leg behind his chaps.

The 22-year old firefighter underwent multiple surgeries, but succumbed to his injuries July 11, 2017, according to the CDCR.

Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Anaya’s friends, family, and coworkers.

Other California inmate firefighter fatalities that we are aware of in the last six years:

  • January 4, 2012. Crisanto Leo Lionell. Heart attack near the conclusion of a 20-minute, .66 mile exercise hike.
  • August 19, 2012. Jimmy Randolph. Anoxic encephalopathy combined with complications of heat stroke while assigned to the Buck Fire.
  • February 25, 2016. Shawna Lynn Jones. Struck by rolling boulder while working on the Mulholland Fire  .
  • May 24, 2017. Matthew Beck. Struck by falling tree while doing project work with his crew.

Edited July 14, 2017 to reflect new information in the Green Sheet. The victim was not running the chainsaw, but was swamping for it (throwing the cut brush).

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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5 thoughts on “California firefighter dies after suffering chain saw injury”

  1. It is with great sadness that I read of Mr. Anayo’s death while working / training with California fire-fighters. My sincere sympathy to his family and friends. The forest brings such healing and joy to so many who spend time and work in the beauty and serenity of the woods. I appreciate his desire to help protect these natural treasures. May Frank rest in peace and may his family find comfort knowing he was helping our community.

  2. I worked on an inmate crew and used a chainsaw as well. I cut the tip of my boot off once and was super careful from them on.

  3. Read the Green Sheet report. The victim was the swamper, not the sawyer. Which raises several questions . . . Why is the public story different from the official story? Is the Green Sheet version even believable, e.g., swamper is holding some 1″ brush for the sawyer to cut? And, if you think this might not have been an accident, ask yourself why convicts are given chainsaws when they can’t even have sharp knives to eat dinner?

    1. Thanks for the updated information. I made the appropriate changes in the article.

      Having said that, I recommend that we lighten up on the theories and far out ideas about what might have happened, if there’s no proof.

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