SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Board on Public Safety Standards and Training on Thursday unanimously approved the addition of five firefighters to the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial, including John Hammack of Sisters.
Three of the additions are from the 2013 wildfire season, the other two are through the historic recognition process.
The names will be added to the state memorial that currently honors 163 fallen structural, airport and wildland firefighters from Oregon who have died in the line of duty on Thursday, September 18, at 1 p.m. on the campus of the Oregon Public Safety Academy, 4190 Aumsville Highway SE, Salem.
The Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial is a tribute to career and volunteer fire service personnel and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting lives and property across the state.
*Additions Approved to the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial*
Jesse Trader - County Fire and Security
BACKGROUND: Jesse Trader died on August 6, 2013, at 07:20 while working on the Big Windy Complex fire in Josephine County. Jesse was 19 years old at the time of his death. He was a volunteer fire fighter with County Fire and Security, a private fire suppression company located in Merlin, Oregon. His duties included basic fire fighting and acting as a water tender driver/contractor for the fire season. Jesse was returning from the evening shift when the water tender (tanker) he was driving hit an embankment and rolled over on the Bear Camp Road near Soldier Camp. Firefighters in vehicles driving behind Trader immediately stopped to assist. An advanced life support ambulance arrived on scene within minutes and Life Flight was quickly launched, however, all efforts to save Firefighter Trader were unsuccessful.
John Hammack - Deschutes County, Deschutes National Forest
BACKGROUND: "On August 1, 2013, John Hammack, 58, a professional feller employed by R&K Water Service was part of a two person felling module assigned to Incident 398 on the Sisters Ranger District, Deschutes National Forest, near Bend, Oregon. Incident 398 included the task of felling a large 64" diameter legacy Douglas Fir that was struck by lightning and set the top on fire. District personnel took initial action late in the day of July 31, 2013 but they did not have the time or proper tools to safely control the fire without taking undue risk, which included felling the tree. The mission on August 1, 2013 was for the felling module of John Hammack and his felling module partner to fell the burning tree. This was not a particularly unusual assignment. At approximately 0911 hours, after several actions to prepare for a safe felling environment and just as John was returning to the base of the tree, a large portion of the top of the tree burned out, broke loose an d tragically fell directly onto John killing him instantly while indirectly striking and injuring his felling partner.
Oscar Montano-Garcia - Wildland Fire Fighter
BACKGROUND: On August 25, 2013, Oscar Montano-Garcia, 50, collapsed and died of a medical condition working on the Nabob Fire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near the Oregon/California border. Oscar was employed as a contract Type 2 hand crew wildland fire fighter with Pacific Coast Contractors, Inc. (Under contract to the USDA Forest Service). He was on a lunch break (federally mandated) with his crew when he collapsed and succumbed to an unknown medical condition. EMT's on scene and multiple other EMS personnel attempted to revive him but were unsuccessful. He had a long history of working with Pacific Coast Contractors, Inc., and in Oregon's Forests. Oscar was highly regarded by those he worked with. He leaves behind his wife, daughter and son.
Tony B. Chapin - Willamina Fire Department
BACKGROUND: On September 24, 1998, fire fighter Tony Chapin was injured in a motor vehicle accident while in route to a required paramedic class he was attending at the College of Emergency Services in Portland, Oregon. Tony was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. When medics arrived he was immediately transported to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries on September 25, 1998. Tony was three months away from graduating from the paramedic program at the time of his death. Completion of the program was the first step in achieving his goal of attending medical school to become an emergency room physician. Tony was a member of the Willamina Fire Department (now known as West Valley Fire District) where he served with his father, Bob Chapin and his brother Chuck. Tony was survived by his wife, Kelly Chapin; his stepson, Ashton Lay; and his daughters, Brooke and Nikki Chapin. Tony was working full time at Taylor Lumber. He and his wife K elly had just purchased their first home. At the time of his death, he was 19 years old.
Melvin Claude Richardson - Oregon National Guard
BACKGROUND: On September 6, 1935, Melvin Claude Richardson was one of 40 initial National Guard fire fighters recruited to fight the McKenzie Bridge fire in the Willamette National Forest. The fire was rapidly growing and exceeded 2,500 acres. While working on the fire, Melvin stepped from behind a tree and was struck by a falling snag that was on fire which broke his neck and killed him upon impact. He was 18 years old at the time of his death. DPSST was contacted by Nancy Farrar, second cousin to Melvin Claude Richardson, who recalled as a child the traumatic loss and the overwhelming impact to the family. He was an only child, therefore, it was a tremendous loss to his family. Nancy began the process of researching his death and presented the information to DPSST staff. She has requested he be added to the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Wall in hopes of bringing closure and honor to her cousin after all these years.
More information on the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial and the names of the men and women it honors can be found online at: http://www.oregon.gov/DPSST/FC/FallenFireFighterMemorial.shtml