Four firefighters killed in China

Four firefighters that were working on a wildfire in the Shanxi Province of northern China were found dead Monday April 3. According to local authorities they became entrapped while fighting the fire near Wenjiazhuang Village of Taigu County.

The initial report is that the fire was caused by a villager who was burning paper money while visiting the tombs of relatives before Tomb Sweeping Day, which was on April 4 this year. The custom in China is for people to pay respect to their deceased family members at that time of the year by burning incense and paper money.

Chief Jim Strain discusses coping with a line of duty death

Trampus Haskvitz was entrapped and killed while fighting the Coal Canyon Fire in 2011.

Trampus Haskvitz

In this video Jim Strain, the Assistant Chief of Operations for the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire Suppression, talks about how he and his department coped with the line of duty death of firefighter Trampus Haskvitz.

Mr. Haskvitz was killed while making an initial attack with an engine on a lightning caused fire approximately 9 miles north of Edgemont, South Dakota on August 11, 2011. One firefighter entrapped in the engine with Mr. Haskvitz survived but with serious burns and was admitted to a burn center in Greeley, Colorado. Another was injured while escaping from the engine and was admitted to a hospital in Rapid City, SD. Two others injured in a rescue attempt were treated at local hospitals and released.

The report on the fatality can be found here. All of our articles about the LODD are tagged Coal Canyon Fire.

Firefighter killed in national park in India

Two other firefighters suffered serious burn injuries while suppressing the 400-acre fire.

A firefighter was killed February 18 while fighting a fire in Bandipur National Park in India. It was reportedly the first time a wildland firefighter in the southern state of Karnataka has died in the line of duty.

The victim, identified as Murugappa Gouda Thammannanavar, was part of a team suppressing a fire in the Bandipura Tiger Reserve. Two others who suffered serious burns initially treated at a local hospital were later transferred to KR hospital in Mysuru.

“There was wind blowing from all directions and Murugappa could not escape from the spreading flames,” said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Ranga Rao.

Below is an excerpt from an article in The Hindu:

While the immediate cause of the fire is not known, it has been established that most of the fires are caused by humans. In many cases, the dry vegetation is set ablaze by miscreants from the local community to wreak revenge when they are booked by the authorities for being in conflict with the law.

Bandipur is going through one of the worst dry spells in recent memory and though forest fires are an annual affair in view of its dry deciduous vegetation, the intensity of drought this year is high. The national park has suffered from two consecutive years of dry spell, and the failure of the southwest monsoon this year has aggravated the situation.

There are 373 waterholes in the national park, which is spread over 874 sq. km, but nearly 350 of them have gone dry.

Bandipur National Park is known for its tigers, Indian elephants, spotted deer, gaurs (bison), antelopes, and numerous other native species.

Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Thammannanavar’s friends, family, and co-workers, and we hope the two injured firefighters have a speedy recovery

Another firefighter killed in Chile wildfires

Ten days after three firefighters were killed while fighting a wildfire in Chile, another has been killed while battling one of the numerous blazes occurring during an extended drought in Chile.

According to AFP:

The man died after getting stuck while trying to help a family escape from their home near the city of Constitucion, a source in the fire service told AFP.

Our sincerest condolences go out to the family, coworkers, and friends of the firefighter.

Three firefighters killed in Chile wildfire

At least four other firefighters were injured.

Three wildland firefighters were killed Sunday January 15 while battling a fire in the commune of Vichuquén, Maule Region of Chile. An ongoing drought and variable winds led to extreme fire behavior when the accident occurred.

According to Cooperative.cl the deceased were identified as:

  • Ricardo Salas, head of the Maqui 3 brigade,
  • Wilfredo Salgado, crew chief Maqui 3 and,
  • Sergio Faúndez, head of the second crew Maqui 6.

Below is another quote from the above website. It is translated by Google and is a little rough:

The manager of Fire Protection Conaf, Andrés Mascareñ or, noted that 14 years ago no such fact occurred in the region and said that activate the relevant protocols to protect personnel.

“Since 2003 we did not have an accident of this level and all these years we have been presenting a critical situation of forest fires and we have faced them properly,” said the executive.

“According to the protocol we have, when situations such as these occur, the tasks are stopped and measures of safeguarding the personnel are taken,” added Mascareño.

Because this incident has consumed about 50 hectares of pine and presents a conflictive behavior, given the high temperatures and wind generating new outbreaks of fire, the Municipality of Maule decreed for the commune of Vichuquén Red Alert until conditions so They deserve it.

Firefighters in Chile have been very busy in recent weeks. The pilot of a single engine air tanker was killed December 28 when the aircraft crashed about 15 kilometers from the town of Santa Juana after working on a wildfire in the Bío Bío region.

Google translation of the above tweet:

President Bachelet lamented death of Brigadiers of Conaf and expressed its appreciation for the work carried out.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families and coworkers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to @Tragahumosfire.

Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Firefighter killed after being struck by tree limb

Rodney Collett
Photo courtesy of Red Bird VF&R

We regret to pass along the news that a firefighter in Kentucky has been killed while fighting a wildland fire. Rodney Collett served on two departments, the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department in Pineville, Kentucky and the Redbird Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in Manchester, Kentucky.

On October 29th Firefighter Collett was working with Red Bird VF&R on a wildfire in Clay County when a tree limb fell striking the fire apparatus and Firefighter Collett causing him to suffer head and arm injuries. He was airlifted to Pikeville Medical Center for treatment. Tragically, Firefighter Collett succumbed to his injuries Thursday evening, November 17.

Firefighter Collett was 44 years and is survived by his parents — Ted and Shirley, and his sister — Connie. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be posted on SupportingHeroes.org.

Between 1990 and 2014 18 firefighters were killed by hazardous trees.

Our sincere condolences go out to Firefighter Collett’s family, friends, and co-workers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Chris.