By Miriam Raftery
July 15, 2017 (Lakeside) – A report on the accident that caused death of inmate firefighter Frank Anaya, 22, indicates it was a chainsaw operated by his partner on the fire line in Lakeside that caused the fatal injury.
The two were working together to clear brush in order to construct a containment line around a mobile home community off Interstate 8 and Los Coches Road on July 5th. According to the report, Anaya was standing on a rock when a branch on the bush his partner was cutting snapped, causing Anaya to lose his balance and fall onto the chainsaw blade.
He suffered a severe gash that went through protective Kevlar chaps and cut an artery in his upper thigh. His partner applied the chainsaw break; other firefighters and paramedics rushed to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
The wounded firefighter was rushed to a hospital via ambulance, where he went through several surgeries but died on July 11th at the hospital.
Anaya was serving time since September 2016 for spousal assault and a weapons charge. He had been at the La Cima Conservation Camp in Julian since April 2017.
He was the second inmate firefighter to succumb this year and the fifth inmate firefighter to die since the program began in the 1940s. According to Wildfire Today, the others were:
- January 4, 2012. Crisanto Leo Lionell. Heart attack near the conclusion of a 20-minute, .66 mile exercise hike.
- August 19, 2012. Jimmy Randolph. Anoxic encephalopathy combined with complications of heat stroke while assigned to the Buck Fire.
- February 25, 2016. Shawna Lynn Jones. Struck by rolling boulder while working on the Mulholland Fire.
- May 24, 2017. Matthew Beck. Struck by falling tree while doing project work with his crew.
Cal Fire and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health are both conducting investigations.