Matthew J. Beck, Inmate Firefighter

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Firefighter Beck and other firefighters were conducting the third day of right-of-way maintenance for a local roadway. Their work included brush and limb removal and chipping.

As crews worked a tree fell onto them. Firefighter Beck was struck in the head and trapped under the tree. Other firefighters removed the tree and provided assistance. Emergency medical services were requested, and firefighters began CPR when it was found that Firefighter Beck did not have a pulse. Efforts continued until Firefighter Beck was pronounced dead at 1437hrs.

The tree that struck Firefighter Beck was 146 feet tall with a 21.5-inch diameter at the base.

Incident Location: Vicinity of Hoopa, Humboldt County, CA (approximately 320 miles north of San Francisco) (U.S. National Grid: 10T DL 4310 4443)

Department information

1416 9th Street POB 944246
U.S. National Grid: 10S FH 3093 7079
Sacramento, California 94244-2460

Chief: Director Ken Pimlott

Matthew J. Beck 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: 26
Rank: Inmate Firefighter
Classification: Wildland Part-Time
Incident date: May 24, 2017 13:40
Date of death: May 24, 2017
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Scene Safety
Emergency duty: No
Duty type: Other On-Duty
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property