U.S. Forest Service firefighter killed in Ore. crash

Benjamin Charles Sapper was killed when the vehicle he and other firefighters were in left the road

Duty Death: Benjamin Charles Sapper - [Medford, Oregon]

End of Service: 08/04/2023

By Bill Carey

GOLD BEACH, Ore. — The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has announced the line-of-duty death of a U.S. Forest Service firefighter killed in an "on-duty vehicle accident" on Aug. 4, 2023.

Benjamin Charles Sapper, 21, was on-duty and traveling with a crew on Friday when they were involved in a crash near Powers, Oregon, KDVR reported.

In a Facebook post, Coquille Fire & Rescue stated the truck with left the roadway. It was not immediately clear what caused the vehicle to leave the road or how many firefighters were involved.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest stated that Sapper was originally from Boulder, Colorado, and had been working as a first-year hand crewmember in the Gold Beach Ranger District. 

“This is a devastating loss of one of our own Gold Beach firefighters," Gold Beach District Ranger Kailey Guerrant told the Salem Statesman Journal. "We have a tight-knit community on the Gold Beach and Powers ranger districts, and we stand together in grief and support for his family, friends, and fellow firefighters during this heartbreaking time."

Coquille Fire & Rescue stated local first responders formed a small procession taking Sapper's body to the mortuary in Coquille. Local firefighters are standing vigil until Sapper is taken to Boulder.

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