LODD: Ore. firefighter dies after contracting pneumonia

Eric Aarseth, 20, was taken off of life support after suffering irreversible brain damage from pneumonia, which became septic

Duty Death: Eric Aarseth - [Springfield, Oregon]


By FireRescue1 Staff

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A young firefighter died Monday after becoming brain dead from pneumonia, which became septic.

KEZI reported that Miller Timber wildland firefighter Eric Aarseth, 20, was found unconscious in his home last Monday one day after returning from battling the Horns Mountain Fire in Washington.

Firefighter Eric Aarseth, 20, was found unconscious in his home last Monday one day after returning from battling the Horns Mountain Fire in Washington. (Photo/Facebook)
Firefighter Eric Aarseth, 20, was found unconscious in his home last Monday one day after returning from battling the Horns Mountain Fire in Washington. (Photo/Facebook)

Aarseth’s parents said he developed pneumonia after returning home, but didn’t realize how severe it was.

"He thought he was okay, and kids at that age tend to be tougher. They don't want to admit they're sick, they don't want to go to the doctor," Aarseth’s stepmother, Cheryl, told KATU.

Aarseth suffered irreversible brain damage, and his family made the decision to take him off of life support.

The young firefighter had just started his wildland career this year. Miller Timber Services spokesperson Kelly Matthews said he was part of a hand crew who dug fire containment lines and helped with fire mop-up duties.

"He was so giving and always wanted to help people. That's the biggest thing. He wanted to help people however he could," Aarseth’s father, Chris, said.

"He may not have died out there in the fire, he's still a hero," Cheryl said. "He lived the way he wanted to live and he was very determined to do what he wanted to do and help people no matter what the cost was."

A memorial fund has been set up in Aarseth’s name, and his parents said they plan to use the funds to help other firefighters get checked out by a doctor after battling wildfires.

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