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LODD: Calif. battalion chief dies while returning home from fire

Battalion Chief Gary Helming was killed in a car crash after battling the Sierra National Forest blaze

Duty Death: Gary Helming - [Santa Maria, California]


By FireRescue1 Staff

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — A Los Padres National Forest battalion chief died Thursday while returning home from a fire.

KEYT reported that Los Padres National Forest Battalion Chief Gary Helming was on his way home from battling a blaze in the Sierra National Forest when he was killed in a car crash.

Battalion Chief Gary Helming was on his way home from battling a blaze when he was killed in a car crash. (Photo/Los Padres National Forest)
Battalion Chief Gary Helming was on his way home from battling a blaze when he was killed in a car crash. (Photo/Los Padres National Forest)

Chief Helming was a member of the department for over two decades. He is survived by his wife and three children.

“Our hearts go out to Gary’s family, the Forest Service and the wildland fire community – he exemplified the highest standards of honor and professionalism,” Los Padres Deputy Forest Supervisor Ken Heffner said. “Gary was a tremendous leader, partner and thoughtful person who engaged with everyone. He will be greatly missed.”

We will update you when more information becomes available.

 

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