Idaho inmate accused of rape at a fire in Utah

The Idaho Department of Corrections has returned their fire crews to prison while it reviews the program

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Rubin Hernandez rape

An inmate working on a camp crew has been accused of raping a woman at the Coal Hollow Fire 56 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Associated Press is reporting that Ruben Hernandez, 27, has been charged with felony rape. Below is an excerpt from the article:

…The woman told police Hernandez had been flirting with her and asked for her number. She gave him a friend’s husband’s contact information to get him to leave her alone, according to charging documents filed Friday.

One morning as she was sitting in a wash trailer watching a movie, Hernandez entered, exposed himself and asked for oral sex, authorities said. He assaulted her after she again rejected him, according to charging documents.

She froze, afraid to scream or stop him because she knew he was a prisoner and didn’t want to get hurt, the charges say. She told a friend, who reported the assault to base-camp security guards.

The inmate was part of a 10-person crew from Idaho working at the incident command post in Utah, performing cooking and janitorial duties supervised by two Idaho correctional officers.

The alleged rape occurred on a day of transition at the fire, as the Northern Rockies incident management team departed and turned it over to a local Type 3 team.

After the August 29 incident the Idaho Department of Corrections brought their fire crews back to prison while it reviews the way they choose, train, and deploy inmates in the program.

The Coal Hollow Fire has burned over 31,000 acres along Highway 6 south of Spanish Fork Canyon. The lightning-caused fire started August 4 and is winding down. It has not been updated on Inciweb since September 8, 2018.

map Coal Hollow Fire Utah

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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.

2 thoughts on “Idaho inmate accused of rape at a fire in Utah”

  1. I guess I just don’t understand why IMT’s continue to allow inmate work programs to be ordered as camp crews, when there are plenty of opportunities for bad behavior and, unfortunately for this poor woman, tragedy hit her when she was just trying to work. What is going to be done on the fire side of this to prevent more events from occurring? I have heard stories of these and others where stealing, violence, and sexual misconduct are happening right under the IMT’s nose. I personally go out as a single resource often, I also happen to be female and in my mid twenties, stories like these really get me fired up because everyone seems to consider the perpetrator as a bad egg, yet nothing changes. My heart goes out to the victim, there are many peaceful and healing thoughts coming her way. I hope that this is the last incident that happens before real change is made, hopefully resulting in safer conditions for EVERYONE working in fire camps around the country.

  2. This behavior is unacceptable. I was given to understand that only “nonviolent” inmates were initiated to help fight wildfires. This program is as criminal as the rapist .. clean it up or trash the program.

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