Man suffers medical issue, dies on fire line

Written by The Associated Press August 12, 2013 04:34 am

VALE — A 59-year-old man died over the weekend while working on a fire line in southeastern Oregon.

Kevin Hall apparently suffered a medical issue Saturday while he was working for a bulldozer contractor on the Grassy Mountain fire, about 60 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho, said Carolyn Chad, associate manager for the federal Bureau of Land Management's local district.

Hall, from Ontario, was found unresponsive in a pickup truck. BLM workers and another fire contractor administered CPR but could not revive him.

Hall was supporting a bulldozer crew as it worked to repair an existing fire line, Chad said.

"He drove the low-boy that hauled the dozer in," Chad told KTVZ-TV. "Typically, that guy will follow the dozer, in case they need oil or have any kind of mechanical problem.

"The crew came by, thought something was wrong, went to the pickup, tapped the window, got no response, opened the door and began life-saving efforts."

Hall is the third person to die in Oregon this month while fighting wildfires.

John Hammack, 58, of Madras, was killed Aug. 1 by a falling tree while removing hazardous trees in the path of a small wildfire in the remote Mount Washington Wilderness Area in the high Cascades. Jesse Trader, 19, was killed Aug. 6 in a water truck crash while fighting a fire in southern Oregon.

At least 27 other crew members have been killed in the U.S. this wildfire season.

Nineteen firefighters died June 30 near Yarnell, Ariz., after a shift in the wind cut off their escape route. It was the largest loss of life for firefighters in a single event since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in in New York.