Paul Eugene Cooper, Firefighter

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Firefighter Cooper was responding as the driver of an engine apparatus enroute to a motor vehicle accident on a narrow two-lane road. While the engine was about to negotiate a slight left curve, a car approached from the other direction straddling the line between the two lanes. Firefighter Cooper moved the apparatus to the right side of the road to avoid a collision, and the engine’s right tires left the pavement and drove onto a soft grassy shoulder. The truck continued on the shoulder, began to fishtail, glanced off of a power pole on the right side of the road, veered to the left out of control, and struck a large oak tree. Firefighter Cooper was trapped behind the steering wheel, and the firefighter who had been a passenger in the apparatus was ejected. Hoopa firefighters, assisted by other firefighters, extricated Firefighter Cooper after almost an hour of effort. Both firefighters were transported to the hospital by Hoopa Ambulance. Although he was alert and conscious during the extrication, Firefighter Cooper entered a coma in the hospital. He never regained consciousness and died on February 14th, his 27th birthday. Neither Firefighter Cooper or his passenger were wearing a seat belt

Department information

Hoopa Volunteer Fire Department
P.O. Box 369

Hoopa, California 95546-0369

Chief: Harold Jones

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Paul Eugene Cooper 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: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident date: February 11, 2000 15:50
Date of death: February 14, 2000
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: Responding
Fixed property use: Street/Road