Gary Dwayne Helming, Battalion Chief

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Battalion Chief Helming was returning from an assignment on the Railroad Fire in the Sierra National Forest in California. He was the driver and sole occupant of a 2014 F350 truck.

As he drove Southbound on State Route 41, a passenger vehicle approached from the opposite direction. As the vehicles came near each other, the passenger vehicle experienced a left-front tire failure, forcing the vehicle to turn left into Chief Helming’s path. The vehicles collided, Chief Helming’s vehicle rolled several times, and he received fatal traumatic injuries. Chief Helming had to be extricated from the vehicle. Chief Helming was wearing his seatbelt and all airbags in the vehicle were deployed.

Incident Location: Highway 41 just south of state Route 33 in Kings County (Vicinity of U.S. National Grid: 10S GE 6631 7520)

Department information

Los Padres National Forest - Santa Lucia District
6750 Navigator Way, Suite 150
U.S. National Grid: 11S KU 3671 1332
Goleta, California 93117

Chief: Acting Forest Supervisor Merv George

Gary Dwayne Helming 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: 47
Rank: Battalion Chief
Classification: Career
Incident date: August 31, 2017 08:30
Date of death: August 31, 2017
Cause of death: Vehicle Collision - Includes Aircraft
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Not On Scene
Emergency duty: No
Duty type: Returning
Fixed property use: Street/Road