Jesse Austin Trader, Firefighter

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Firefighter Trader was operating a tanker (tender) as a part of the firefighting effort on the Big Windy Complex of fires in Oregon. This was Firefighter Trader’s first assignment as a tanker driver and he had received the driver’s license endorsement for this type of vehicle a few weeks before the fatal incident.

Night operational period resources, including Firefighter Trader and his tanker, had completed their fireline work assignments and were released to travel back to the Incident Command Post at approximately 0700hrs.

The route from the fireline to the highway was a narrow, winding, paved mountain road with a steep downhill grade for approximately 3 miles. Toward the bottom of the downgrade, the tanker driven by Firefighter Trader impacted a cut bank next to the road and rolled onto its top. An advanced life support ambulance with a paramedic on-board, was called and reached the scene within 7 minutes. The paramedic on scene pronounced Firefighter Trader deceased.

An investigation into the incident found that the tanker was fully loaded and that the weight of the loaded vehicle exceeded the vehicle’s certification by 5,000 pounds. The 1966 vehicle chassis was only equipped with rear brakes. Although it does not appear as if it was a factor in his death, Firefighter Trader was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Incident Location: Bear Camp Road near Soldier Camp (Approximately USNG: 10T DN 14 14)

Department information

Southwest Oregon District - Oregon Department of Forestry
5286 Table Rock Road
USNG: 10T EM 0951 9346
Central Point, Oregon 97502

Chief: District Forester Dan Thorpe

Jesse Austin Trader was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 19
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Wildland Contract
Incident date: August 6, 2013 07:20
Date of death: August 6, 2013
Cause of death: Vehicle Collision - Includes Aircraft
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: Returning
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property