Inmate firefighter dies after falling ill on California fire

The 2,681-acre Buck Fire south of Hemet, California, was fully contained on Friday morning, and the North County Times reported that an inmate firefighter died yesterday after he became ill on the fire.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Cal Fire are investigating the illness and subsequent death of 44-year-old Jimmy Randolph, who died at a hospital in Palm Springs with his family at his bedside. The cause of death will be announced after an autopsy is completed.

(UPDATED July 13, 2017. Mr. Randolf died in a hospital August 19, 2012 seven hours after he was found unresponsive where he was sleeping at the fire. The cause of death was listed as anoxic encephalopathy combined with complications of heat stroke.)

Buck Fire location

Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp on the Angeles National Forest houses minimum-security inmates and is operated jointly by CDCR and Cal Fire.

The Buck Fire also had a microburst rip through the ICP early Thursday, with hard rain and hail and 60 mph gusts that sent tents and much of the camp skittering across the ground. The fire, ignited by lightning last Tuesday, was also plagued with injuries; according to the Desert Sun, one firefighter was taken to a hospital for minor injuries. Three other firefighters incurred minor injuries, along with two civilians, one of whom suffered severe third-degree burns to his legs.

Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a marijuana patch discovered in the area. According to the L.A. Times, firefighters encountered two men trying to protect the small grove of plants.

This fire had more than its share of weirdness. The Desert Sun also reported that a 59-year-old local man was charged with driving over a fire captain’s foot on Tuesday afternoon. Gregory Lance Good is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and interfering with a firefighter in the line of duty. He was arraigned in Riverside County Superior Court and entered a “not guilty” plea.

7 thoughts on “Inmate firefighter dies after falling ill on California fire”

  1. That was my uncle. We are saddened by this situation. We would like to know more and do more because he died a hero. Please email me if you have more information.

  2. I am so sorry about your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your uncle was a hero.

  3. I am so very sorry for the loss of your uncle on this fire. My prayers are with you and your family at this time. May he rest in peace.

  4. Randolph was a model inmate and well respected by the staff and inmate population at CC41, the flag has been at half-staff since Sunday for him. I wish we had alot more like him…

  5. I know my brother is looking down smiling. It was the greatest loss to our family ,but he is at peace now. I just wish he was here to see how many hearts he’s touched. My heart and prayers go out to you all that is mourning the loss of Jimmy. You will always be my hero. Love always and never forgotten your “lil”sister,

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