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Fallen Brothers» Oregon Van Crash

Line of Duty Death      Our condolences to the Shirley, Rama, Martindale, and Zigich families and the United States Forest Service and Grayback Forestry. FireFighters Retha Shirley, 19, of Baker City, Oregon, Daniel Rama, 28, of Baker City, Oregon, Jake Martindale, 20, of Boise, Idaho, and Zachary Zigich, 19, of Twin Falls, Idaho, employees of Grayback Forestry Inc. of La Grande, Oregon were killed enroute to the 2 week old Hayman, Colorado wildfire on Friday June 21, 2002. The driver of their vehicle, Megan Helm, 21, of La Grande, lost control of their van veering left into the median, overcorrecting, and rolling the van 3 times in the road and once more in the grass on the right side of the highway. The van was carrying 11 firefighters and was 1 of 8 vans in the caravan that had just stopped in Parachute, Colorado for food and fuel. Four other passengers were treated for minor to serious injuries in Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, and Rifle. One of the injured firefighters, Bartholomew Bailey, 20, of Corvallis, Oregon, was in critical condition for 3 days after the crash before he succumbed to his injuries on Monday June 24, 2002.

     The firefighters were employees of a private contractor Grayback Forestry Inc., among the largest and considered the most elite of private firefighting agencies. Grayback Forestry provides contract emergency services, fuels management, wildfire suppression and training, helicopter charters and other miscellaneous forestry services. Grayback Forestry has been operating since 1979 and has offices in La Grande, Grants Pass and John Day, Oregon.

     Funeral and memorial inormation will be posted when it is released.

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