Fire Chief seriously wounded by rock thrown from brush clearing machine

From Firefighter Close Calls:


Murrieta (San Diego County, California)
Fire Chief Matt Shobert was severely injured Wednesday by a rock thrown from brush-clearing equipment. Shobert, who has served as chief of the Murrieta Fire Department since 2011 and was previously fire chief in Hemet, suffered severe trauma to his face. He was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar Wednesday then flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda. He underwent his first reconstructive surgery last night.

Chief Matt Shobert
File photo of Chief Matt Shobert. Murrieta FD photo.

Maintenance crews were clearing brush yesterday morning and had called the Fire Department to make sure they weren’t at risk of starting a fire. A Firefighter, along with Chief Shobert, went to check on conditions there.

About 0900 hours, Chief Shobert was standing outside his SUV, a good distance from the nearest mower, when a large rock struck him in the face — witnesses thought he was shot. When paramedics saw the trauma to his face, they thought it was a gunshot wound as well.

Police were called out for fear there was a person armed with a gun. They used an armed vehicle to search the area but found not sign of a gunman. Eventually, they realized it must have been a projectile flung by the mower and they found the rock that struck the chief.

Reports are that Chief Shobert is likely to face many more surgeries. His wife is at the hospital and other family are on their way from Arizona.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.