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Thread: Opal, South Dakota Firefighter Dies From Severe Burns

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    Opal, South Dakota Firefighter Dies From Severe Burns

    Opal, South Dakota Firefighter Dies From Severe Burns

    TIM PALUCH & BILL CISSELL
    Courtesy The Rapid City Journal, South Dakota


    ST. PAUL, Minn. - A volunteer firefighter who was burned severely last week while battling a wildfire in Meade County died Tuesday.

    David Martin, a firefighter with the Opal volunteer fire department, died at 2:30 p.m. MDT in the burn unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

    Martin and other local volunteers were fighting a grasslands fire in east-central Meade County on Thursday when Martin fell off a brush truck, directly into the path of oncoming flames.

    He was flown to Rapid City Regional Hospital and later transferred to the burn center at Regions Hospital, where he remained in critical condition with burns over 80 percent of his body until his death Tuesday.

    An arrest was made at 1 p.m. Tuesday in connection with the fire, one of several suspicious fires to break out in a three- or four-mile stretch of Red Owl Road between Red Owl and Marcus.

    Ray Wicks, 71, of Red Owl, was charged with third-degree arson and aggravated assault.

    Wicks was released on $5,000 bond Tuesday. His initial court appearance is set for Aug. 19.

    Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said the charges may change because Martin died.

    The Meade County sheriff, state Division of Forestry, state fire marshal, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, state Division of Criminal Investigation and investigators from the Rapid City Fire Department investigated Thursday's fire.

    Carlson said the last firefighter to die on duty in South Dakota was Robert Buehler, a 62-year-old firefighter with the Delmont Fire Department who was burned by a wildfire in March 2000.

    Carlson said Martin was only the fourth South Dakota firefighter to die on duty in the past 25 years.


    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/sd_aug7.html

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    Martin, David

    Age: 48
    Rank: Firefighter
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 08/01/2002
    Incident Time:
    Death Date: 08/06/2002

    Cause of Death: Fell or Jumped
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Riding Vehicle/Apparatus
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Opal Volunteer Fire Department
    P.O. Box 48
    Opal , South Dakota 57765
    Chief: Charles Vansickel

    Initial Summary:
    While fighting a prairie fire FF Martin fell off the back of a firefighting vehicle into the fire. Martin was severely burned and died from his injuries several days later in the burn unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1313

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    Firefighter's Death Mourned In Opal, South Dakota

    Firefighter's Death Mourned In Opal, South Dakota

    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.com News


    The community of Opal, South Dakota is mourning the loss of Firefighter David Martin who died in the line of duty after suffering severe burns at a brush fire.

    Martin, 48, had volunteered with the Opal Volunteer Fire Department for about 20 years, as long as he had lived in the area, said department member Hazel Vansickel, who takes the fire department's phone calls. She is also the mother of Fire Chief Charles Vansickel.

    Hazel Vansickel said Martin worked for Meade County as a highway maintenance patrol operator. He loved to hunt and fish, and was very interested in his children's' school and sports events, she said.

    Martin is survived by his wife Rhonda, daughters Alicia, 14, and Milita, 16, and his son Jeremiah, 18, who just graduated from high school.

    Martin lived about a half mile from the fire station in the rural ranching community, where almost everyone shares the firefighting duties, Vansickel said.

    Funeral arrangements were underway Thursday. Vansickel said Martin would be missed by the community, which has never had a firefighter lost or seriously injured on duty before.

    "It's a terrible thing. Nobody's ever been hurt real bad, nothing like this," she said. "It's so sad for his young family and the pain he went through."

    Martin was fighting a prairie fire on Thursday, August 1 when he fell off the back of a firefighting vehicle and into the path of the fire. He was severely burned and died from his injuries several days later on Thursday, August 6 at 2:30 p.m. in the burn unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN.

    Martin was the 68th firefighter fatality reported to the US Fire Administration in 2002.



    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/sd_aug7b.html

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