By Miriam Raftery
Photo credit Calif. Department of Corrections
July 5, 2017 (Lakeside) — An inmate firefighter has suffered a life-threatening injury after he lost control of a chainsaw that cut his leg, Fox 5 reports.
The firefighter was working at the scene of a brush fire that began around 1:30 p.m. near Olde Highway 80 and Los Coches Road in Lakeside. Mobile homes were briefly threatened before firefighters got the blaze under control.
Olde Highway 80 remains closed in the area, according to the California Highway Patrol website.
The injured firefighter was taken to Grossmont Hospital, where he is in critical condition.
It was the second serious injury of an inmate firefighter in the past two weeks. On May 26, Matthew Beck, a 26-year-old inmate firefighter, died after a tree fell and crushed his head, neck and back. He was clearing brush in Del Norte County when the tragedy occurred, the California Department of Corrections reports.
Approximately 3,900 inmate firefighters in 43 camps statewide help to battle wildland fires in California. All are volunteers, but as these two incidents show, the duties they perform to protect public safety can be risky and at times, result in tragedy. Read more about these unsung heroes on the fire lines, who earn redemption and rehabilitation through their efforts, here: http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2017/05/redemption-on-the-fire-line-inmates-staff-embrace-rehabilitative-mission/