Thursday, July 31, 2008

Andrew Palmer's autopsy completed. Dan Packer flown home.

More details are now available concerning the death of Andrew Palmer, a National Park Service firefighter, who was killed Friday when he was struck by a falling tree while fighting a fire on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in northern California.

An autopsy revealed that he died of blood loss from a blunt force trauma to his upper left leg. From the Redding Searchlight:
Fire officials have said that Palmer suffered multiple injuries after being hit by a tree during an operation to secure a fire line. It was his first day on the fire line.

Although specifics of the accident have not been publicly released, Palmer’s family told their hometown newspaper that they were informed that their son was in a safety zone when a tree was cut downhill from his position.

It slid downhill and spring-boarded into another tree, which caused a third tree to flip back uphill. That flying tree struck Palmer, reportedly breaking his left leg and right shoulder.

Palmer died while being flown by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Redding.

Hired in June as a firefighter with Olympic National Park based in Port Angeles, Palmer was assigned to the Iron Complex of fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest a few days before the accident.

A memorial service is planned for him Monday at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend.
Daniel Packer

Daniel Bruce Packer, 49, of Lake Tapps, Wash., died Saturday while scouting the Panther Fire near Happy Camp in Siskiyou County. He had sought cover from a fiery blow-over under his personal emergency fire shelter, fire officials have said. An autopsy performed Tuesday showed that Packer died as a result of thermal burns and smoke inhalation.

Packer’s body was flown home Wednesday aboard a U.S. Forest Service DC-3 from Siskiyou County Airport near Montague to Tacoma Narrows Airport.

A funeral procession to the airport, which passed numerous mourners paying their respects along the route, included a U.S. Forest Service honor guard, representatives of the Klamath National Forest, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and Yreka Volunteer Fire Department. His body was accompanied by his wife and representatives from East Pierce Fire and Rescue of Bonney Lake, Wash.

A memorial service is planned for him next Thursday at the Christian Faith Center in Federal Way, Wash., while a sunrise memorial service to honor him is set for 6 a.m. Friday at the Ukonom Complex Incident Command Post in Orleans in southwest Siskiyou County. Another memorial service is at 7 p.m. Friday at River Park in Happy Camp.

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