Colorado's "Marc Mullenix" bill proposes civil immunity protection for some firefighters

The Colorado legislature has passed a bill, Senate # 09-013, that would provide some civil immunity for volunteer firefighters, and for fire departments that donate surplus fire equipment to other fire departments. The bill also includes protection for incident managment teams, both standing teams and “ad hoc” teams. An official copy of the bill is HERE. On May 19 the bill was sent to the governor who is expected to sign it at the Colorado Wildfire and Incident Management Academy in June.

The bill is named the “Marc Mullenix Volunteer Firefighter Protection Act”. Chief Mullenix was a wildland firefighter who in 2007 was a Type 1 Incident Commander trainee on Kim Martin’s Incident Management Team in the Rocky Mountain Geographic Area. Some of his past jobs included Wildland Fire Division Chief for the Boulder Fire Department, Fire Management Officer for Mesa Verde National Park, and Division Chief with the Fairmont Fire Protection District, all in Colorado. He passed away, a victim of suicide, on January 28, 2008, in Mancos, Colorado at the age of 50.

Life Challenge Program, in memory of Marc Mullenix

The Life Challenge Program, created in memory of Marc Mullenix, is now being hosted by the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Marc passed away on January 28, 2008.

In 2007 Marc was a Type 1 Incident Commander trainee on Kim Martin’s Incident Management Team in the Rocky Mountain Geographic Area. Some of his past jobs included Wildland Fire Division Chief for the Boulder Fire Department, Fire Management Officer for Mesa Verde National Park, and Division Chief for the Fairmont Fire Protection District, all in Colorado.

According to the Life Challenge Program web site:

“The Life Challenge Program is a reflective and support based program which will help set a vision for firefighters and families to better understand the emotions faced during the challenges in life. This program is dedicated to those who are the survivors.”

We received some questions about the cause of death of Marc Mullenix shortly after it occurred, but did not discuss it since it was not reported widely. But on the web site, the biography of his surviving spouse, Shawna Legarza, begins like this:

Shawna Legarza is the surviving spouse of her husband, Marc Mullenix who committed suicide in 2008. She is also the founder of Wildland Firefighter Life Challenge Program, is currently working her 21st year in Fire and Aviation Management. During her fire career she also completed the USFS Joint Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Academy, obtained an Associate Arts Degree in Science for Wildland Fire Management, Bachelors Art Degree in Wildland Fire Management, a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology and teaching, a Masters of Science in Kinesiology and is currently working on a PhD in Psychology specializing in Organizational Leadership.

Donations for the program can be made through the Wildland Firefighter Foundation; just specify that it is for the Life Challenge Program.