INMATE FIREFIGHTER DIES OF INJURIES SUSTAINED BATTLING LAKESIDE FIRE

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By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2017 (Lakeside) – An inmate firefighter who suffered a chainsaw injury while working a fire line in Lakeside on July 5th has died, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced today.

The 22-year-old firefighter, Frank Anaya, suffered severe cuts to his leg and femoral artery. Firefighters at the scene immediately gave him advanced life support care and CPR before he was transported to a hospital, where he underwent multiple surgeries before succumbing to his injuries at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 11 in the hospital.

Scott Kernan, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, stated, “We are saddened by the death of Frank Anaya, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,  Anaya provided an invaluable public service and helped protect our communities from devastating fires.”

Anaya, who was assigned to the La Cima Conservation Camp in San Diego County, was serving a three-year sentence.   

He is the second inmate firefighter to die this year and the fifth since the conservation program was created in the 1940s.

Approximately 3,900 inmates, all volunteers, are housed in 43 conservation camps operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in conjunction with CAL FIRE, the State of California's wildland fire-fighting agency, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Working in fire crews of 12 to 17 members, inmate firefighters often work in rugged backcountry conditions, using hand tools to cut containment lines, unsung heroes helping to stop the spread of wildland fires.