An inmate firefighter collapsed and died during physical training near Jamestown, California April 21. For Anthony Colacino it was his first day as a trainee firefighter on the Sierra Conservation Center fire crew. Just before 8 a.m., about 50 minutes into a one-hour training hike, Mr. Colacino collapsed.
Below is an excerpt from an article in the LA Times:
The on-duty fire captain, along with four other inmate firefighters, took Colacino to the center’s firehouse, where they tried to save him by doing CPR in the vehicle and at the facility until an ambulance arrived, said Krissi Khokhobashvili, a corrections spokeswoman. “Those inmate firefighters, they jumped into action,” she said. “They did what they’re supposed to do.”
Colacino — who had served more than a year of a four-year, four-month sentence out of Riverside County for two counts of evading a peace officer while driving recklessly, cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm with gross negligence — was pronounced dead soon after. Officials said foul play is not suspected in his death, but the Tuolumne County coroner will determine the cause of death.
Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Colacino’s friends, family, and coworkers.
At least two other very serious life-threatening injuries have occured to wildland firefighters in recent years during day one or two of physical training. They occurred in 2016 in South Dakota and the Northwest.
One was a Rhabdomyolysis (Rhabdo) injury after running for more than nine miles and doing uphill sprints on the first day.
The other was a heat stroke near the end of a seven-mile run on day two of their season. The employee was unconscious for several hours and spent four days in the hospital.
We are aware of five other California inmate line of duty fatalities in the last seven years:
- January 4, 2012: Crisanto Leo Lionell, 54, was participating in a training exercise at the California National Guard’s Camp San Luis when he lost consciousness and later passed away.
- August 19, 2012: Jimmy Randolf, 44, died seven hours after he was found unresponsive where he was sleeping at the Buck Fire. The cause of death was listed as anoxic encephalopathy combined with complications of heat stroke.
- February 25, 2016: Shawna Lynn Jones, 22, died from major head injuries after being struck by a rolling boulder while fighting the Mulholland Fire near Malibu.
- May 24, 2017: Matthew Beck, 26, was working on a county roads project with a crew in the Hoopa area. He suffered major head, neck and back injuries when a 120-foot tall tree uprooted and fell on him. He died before life-flight crews were able to reach him.
- July 11, 2017: Frank Anaya, 22, was throwing cut brush during line construction operations on a fire near Lakeside when he lost his balance and fell into a running chainsaw. He suffered a severe cut to his upper right leg behind his chaps and succumbed to his injuries July 11, 2017.