Oregon firefighter dies after returning from a fire

20-year-old Eric Aarseth passed away Monday, September 3, 2018.

Below is an excerpt from an article at KEZI.com posted September 3, 2018:


Springfield, Ore. — A Eugene wildland firefighter has died after he suffered irreversible brain damage after contracting pneumonia, which became septic.

The family of 20-year-old Eric Aarseth tells ABC News just a day after he came home last Monday [August 27] he was found unconscious in his apartment. Eric was taken to PeaceHealth Riverbend Hospital in Springfield. Eric’s family said they’ve made the difficult choice to take him off life support.

Kellie Mathews, a spokesperson for Miller Timber services, tells KEZI 9 Eric passed away Monday afternoon [September 3, 2018].

Eric worked for Miller Timber Service. Mathews said this was Eric’s first year as a firefighter and he battled the Garner Complex Fire in southern Oregon and the Horns Mountain Fire in Washington.

“We’re heartbroken for the family and friends of our firefighter, Eric Aarseth,” said Lee Miller, President of Miller Timber Services in a statement. “It’s devastating to lose any member of our team and Eric seemed to have found his passion and purpose on the fire line.”

“We take our responsibility to our firefighters seriously and I’m confident we did our best for Eric,” Miller said. “In order to ensure we continue to take good care of our employees, we plan to review our training and support materials, fire line resources, and protocols.”

(end of excerpt)


We send our sincere condolences to the friends, family, and co-workers of Mr. Aarseth.

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. Google+

2 thoughts on “Oregon firefighter dies after returning from a fire”

  1. What a loss to the fire fighting community! I couldn’t understand why this happened to someone so young. My condolence to the family and friends!

  2. Condolences to Eric Aarseth’s friends and family. And thank you to all who accept all the risks involved fighting fire.

    Fatigue and exhaustion are commonly listed as early symptoms of pneumonia. Obviously, assuming that fatigue and exhaustion are do to fighting fire on a hand crew could have impaired recognition of those symptoms. Inhalation of smoke and dust could not only exacerbate a case of pneumonia, the effect they have on the body could also impair recognition of symptoms.

    Eric’s untimely death raises the question, “Should fire fighters be given a quick medical screening by professionals trained to discern serious health issues specific to the occupation before they depart the fire camp?” One minute with a thermometer might have saved Eric’s life.

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