Death count rises to five in Carr Fire

The two firefighters killed have been identified

The number of fatalities on the Carr Fire rose to five Saturday July 28 when officials confirmed that two young children and their great-grandmother were found dead. James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were stranded with Melody Bledsoe, 70, when the fire ran through the family’s property July 26 outside Redding, California.

To see all of the articles about the Carr Fire, including the most current, click HERE.

That same day two firefighters were also killed at approximately 6:40 pm when a dramatic increase in fire behavior occurred on the east side of the Carr Fire. Entrapped in a burn over were a call when needed contract dozer operator, Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines and Redding fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke who had been with the Fire Department since 2004.

Also on July 26 three firefighters from Marin County were injured on the fire. They were treated at a hospital in Redding for burns to the ears, face, and hands, the department’s release said. One is receiving additional evaluation at the UC Davis Burn Center.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and co-workers of these eight victims.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Death count rises to five in Carr Fire”

  1. It is a dangerous job. No matter what we do to train to be safe, no matter how much we study the past fatal mistakes of others in an effort to avoid their mistakes, the plain fact is that it is a dangerous environment, much like the theater of war, and people will suffer injury and loss of life while engaged, plain and simple. The only way to avoid injury and death on the fire-line is to not engage. Even still that still doesn’t eliminate the huge number of injuries and fatalities incurred as a result of traveling to and from incidents on the highways and roads of an an incident. It is a sad truth, but none the less the truth. As a fire supervisor it is imperative that we covey the dangers of the job to those that serve so that they can make the final decision as to weather to be a fire fighter or not, because in the end it is dangerous. No one is immune from the dangers out there. Those that think they are are the most dangerous. It is in this knowledge we salute all that fight fires, both wildland and structure, to protect and serve the public with the ultimate sacrifice. No words can comfort the families that have lost loved ones in the line of duty, but know that they are respected and honored by all of us who do this job.

  2. With all our safety programs and post action reviews we are still lousing people, can anyone explain why ? what are we doing wrong. Every fire manager must ask himself how can we prevent this from happening again.

    1. Two of the wildland firefighters killed were dozer operators – within two weeks of each other. A dozer is fine going up and down the hill but if they start going perpendicular to the hill, if they aren’t careful they can roll very easy. The majority of the other deaths are from snags. Which are dead or burned trees that fall on top of a firefighter. Snags are called widow makers for a reason.


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