Report: Wash. fire Lt. helping in Calif. wildfire aid was napping when run over

The lieutenant was flown by helicopter to a nearby trauma center only to be released a day and a half later


By Ruben Vives
Los Angeles Times

MALIBU, Calif. — Six days after the Woolsey fire broke out, killing two people and burning more than 98,000 acres and growing, five engines from Washington State made their way to California to help fight the blaze.

After working around the clock, defending homes and patrolling neighborhoods in the Malibu area, one group of firefighters decided to take a moment to rest. The crew pulled into a dirt area, north of Pacific View Drive and Houston Road. Most of the firefighters slept on top of the fire engine, but one took a nap on a grassy patch of land just 15 feet away from the truck.

Six days after the Woolsey fire broke out, killing two people and burning more than 98,000 acres and growing, five engines from Washington State made their way to California to help fight the blaze. (Photo/AP)
Six days after the Woolsey fire broke out, killing two people and burning more than 98,000 acres and growing, five engines from Washington State made their way to California to help fight the blaze. (Photo/AP)

It was almost midnight Nov. 14 when a scream woke everyone up. It came from the sleeping firefighter who had just been run over by a 2015 Dodge Ram 2500, a truck that can weigh more than 7,000 pounds.

The firefighter, a lieutenant, was flown by helicopter to a nearby trauma center only to be released a day and a half later. Shockingly, he suffered only minor injuries.

Details of the accident were released Monday as part of an investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection into an accident that could have driven up the death toll of the fire.

Fire officials found that the civilian driving the truck had come across the fire engine, turned off its lights because it was trying to avoid waking the firefighters and drove around the firetruck, only to run over the napping firefighter.

“The driver-side front and rear tires of [the civilian’s] pickup drove over [the lieutenant’s] chest,” the report said. “Firefighters immediately radioed for help and requested an air ambulance on their mobile radio’s travel channel.”

In their findings, officials said the fact that the firefighter was lying in soft dirt probably decreased the severity of his injuries.

Copyright 2018 Los Angeles Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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