Firefighter killed while working on Oregon fire identified

Frumencio Ruiz Carapia
Frumencio Ruiz Carapia

The firefighter who died Monday while working on a wildfire southeast of Eugene, Oregon has been identified as 56-year old Frumencio Ruiz Carapia of Medford.

Mr. Carapia was working on the Gales Fire when he was struck by a falling tree, according to a news release Tuesday from Lane County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Speldrich.

Despite immediate efforts by those around him, Ruiz Carapia died at the scene, the news release said. No other injuries were reported.

The 14,000-acre Gales Fire is part of the Middle Fork Complex of fires. Personnel across the complex shared a moment of silence Tuesday morning in his memory.

Mr. Carapia was a member of a contract Type 2 Initial Attack hand crew. Two other firefighters who were injured were treated at the scene.

“The wildland firefighting community and our partners mourn this loss,” said Incident Commander Brian Gales of Northwest 13 Incident Management Team. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Gales Fire map

A preliminary investigation showed the accident wasn’t the result of any tree cutting but that the tree unexpectedly snapped and fell to the ground, according to the sheriff’s office.

After his death Monday first responders formed a procession in the firefighter’s honor as his body, wrapped in an American flag, was wheeled past them before being prepared for transport back home.

Friends of Ruiz Carapia have established a GoFundMe page to support his wife and children.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden put out a statement regarding Ruiz Carapia’s death on Tuesday evening:

“A sad reminder about the dangers that firefighters face to protect all of us here in Oregon. My deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Mr. Carapia.”

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

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Al and others.

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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.

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