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Thread: USFA Reports Triple Texas Firefighter Fatality

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    USFA Reports Triple Texas Firefighter Fatality

    USFA Reports Triple Texas Firefighter Fatality
    ............

    Firehouse.Com News

    A triple firefighter fatality occurred Thursday, March 10 when three Texas firefighters were killed in a helicopter crash, the USFA reported.

    The firefighters worked for the United States Forest Service in Lufkin, Texas. They were working a prescribed burn, dropping fire pellets to start fires in the forest below near Shelbyville, Texas, the USFA reported.

    The cause of the helicopter crash is still to be determined.

    Those killed were Fire Base Manager John Greeno, age 51, Fire Management Officer Charles Edgar, age 54, and Pilot Jose Victor Gonzales, age 45.

    The funeral for Charles Edgar took place Sunday, March 13 in Hemp Hill, Texas.

    Visitation for John Greeno will take place Thursday, March 17 at the Terzich Wilson Funeral Home, 225 Rose Street, Sonora, CA from 5 to 7 p.m. The funeral will take place Friday, March 18 at the Sierra Bible Church on Tuolumne Road, Tuolumne County at 2 p.m.

    A processional of forest service vehicles will escort Greeno's body to the funeral home when it is flown into Columbia, CA Airport Monday, March 14 at 8:30 p.m. and from the funeral home to Sierra Bible Church March 18.

    A reception at the Sheriff's Posse Grounds on Rawhide Road near Jamestown, CA will follow the funeral services.

    Memorial donations can be made to the Motherlode Bank, c/o Benefit for John Greeno, 172 West Stockton Road, Sonora, CA 95370.

    Condolences can be sent to P.O. Box 816, Soulsbyville, CA 95372.

    The funeral for Jose Victor Gonzales will take place Thursday, March 17 in Puerto Rico.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...r.jsp?id=40174

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    California Forest Service Veteran Among Three Dead in Texas Crash

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    SONORA, Calif. (AP) -- A veteran Stanislaus National Forest employee was among three people killed in a Texas helicopter crash while conducting a prescribed burning operation in the Sabine National Forest, officials said Friday.

    John M. Greeno, 51, of Soulsbyville, had worked at the forest since 1984, most recently as helitack base manager on the Mi-Wok Ranger District, managing as many as 14 firefighters during the fire season.

    ''This was a guy who's been on the forest 20 years, so he's got a lot of family and friends who are just in shock,'' said Jerry Snyder, a spokesman for the Stanislaus National Forest.

    The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the crash investigation, though the Forest Service is conducting its own probe. The Forest Service shut down all aerial operations in Texas until further notice.

    Also killed were Charles Edgar, 54, fire management officer for the Sabine National Forest, and the pilot of the Bell Model 206-B3 helicopter, Jose Victor Gonzalez, who was working under a Forest Service contract with Brainerd Company in Brainerd, Minn.

    The company's owner, Lee Andrew, said Gonzales had worked for him about three weeks and was hired out of Texas. He said this is the first fatal crash for the company.

    The helicopter had flown all morning, then refueled and returned to fly in the afternoon over the rural, pine-studded region, said Shelby County Sheriff Newton Johnson.

    ''The helicopter came over the radio, they were saying, 'Mayday, Mayday, we're going down,' and they crashed in the national forest,'' Johnson said.

    Justice of the Peace O.B. Furlow said the area surrounding the crash site has such dense vegetation that officials had to use a bulldozer to get to the scene.

    ''It's nothing but pine wood back there,'' Furlow said.

    Funeral Arrangements: The funeral for Charles Edgar took place Sunday, March 13 in Hemp Hill, Texas.

    Visitation for John Greeno will take place Thursday, March 17 at the Terzich Wilson Funeral Home, 225 Rose Street, Sonora, CA from 5 to 7 p.m.

    The funeral will take place Friday, March 18 at the Sierra Bible Church on Tuolumne Road, Tuolumne County at 2 p.m.

    A processional of forest service vehicles will escort Greeno's body to the funeral home when it is flown into Columbia, CA Airport Monday, March 14 at 8:30 p.m. and from the funeral home to Sierra Bible Church March 18.

    A reception at the Sheriff's Posse Grounds on Rawhide Road near Jamestown, CA will follow the funeral services.

    Memorial donations can be made to the Motherlode Bank, c/o Benefit for John Greeno, 172 West Stockton Road, Sonora, CA 95370.

    Condolences can be sent to P.O. Box 816, Soulsbyville, CA 95372.

    Greeno is survived by his wife, Lori, his son Marcus, 15, and his daughter, Montana, 12.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...nId=4&id=40114

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    East Texas forestry workers died doing important job

    By APRIL BARBE, Cox East Texas
    Source: Lufkin Daily News www.lufkindailynews.com

    Charles Edgar, John Greeno and Jose Victor Gonzalez had an important job to do for the U.S. Forest Service Thursday - a prescribed burn in the Sabine National Forest.

    It was a job that cost them their lives.

    The helicopter in which they were flying crashed near Shelbyville. Their loss, a Forest Service official said, was "felt nationwide within the Forest Service, and beyond."
    "As a Forest Service family we are all very saddened about this tragedy," said Gay Ippolito, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service in Lufkin. "Our sympathy is with the families, friends and co-workers of these outstanding gentlemen."

    Prescribed burning is done as a protective measure to reduce undergrowth and "fuel accommodations" on the forest floor that could create a severe wildfire, she said. Reducing undergrowth protects the forest and landowners living nearby and provides new vegetation for wildlife.

    "If a prescribed burn is not done, a fire can burn much hotter, cause more damage and move faster, causing nearby landowners to be at risk," Ippolito said.

    The burns are conducted throughout the fall, winter and spring months, when weather conditions permit, she said.
    "Safety is our most important and highest priority on everything that we do. Sometimes certain aspects of our jobs are dangerous. During prescribed burns, we are especially careful to keep safeguards in place to protect folks," Ippolito said.

    Officials are unsure of the cause of Thursday's crash. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the accident scene, a wooded area approximately 11 miles southeast of Center, to investigate, Ippolito said.
    The burn was discontinued after the crash, and as a precaution, all aviation operations on the national forests and grasslands in Texas have also been discontinued until further notice, according to a press release.

    Edgar, 54, had worked with the Forest Service for more than 25 years. He was a fire management officer for the Sabine National Forest.

    Greeno, 51, had been a Bald Mountain base manager with the Mi-Wok Ranger District on the Stanislaus National Forest in California since 1984. He was from Soulsbyville, Calif.

    Gonzalez, 45, of Rockwall, was the pilot employed by the Brainerd Company in Brainerd, Minn.

    Edgar was not only a co-worker but a friend to Ippolito and those working with the Sabine National Forest.
    "He was a hard-working person who loved his job and the job that he was doing at the time of the accident. We deeply feel this loss," she said.

    Edgar was the second employee of the local Forest Service office to die in a helicopter crash in the past two years.
    Charles Krenek, 48, was assisting in the search for space shuttle Columbia debris in March 2003 when the helicopter in which he was flying crashed in the Angelina National Forest near Broaddus.

    http://www.slackdavis.com/news_artic...k/argval/index

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    3 dead when helicopter crashes in Sabine National Forest

    11:07 PM CST on Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Associated Press

    CENTER, Texas

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    Forest leader dies in crash

    Published: March 11, 2005

    By LENORE

    RUTHERFORD

    A Stanislaus National Forest supervisor was among three people killed yesterday in a helicopter crash near Lufkin, Texas.

    John Greeno, 50, was on a 21-day detail doing a controlled burn in Sabine National Forest on the Texas-Louisiana border.

    The helicopter, a Bell 206B-3 owned by Brainerd Helicopter Service in Minnesota and under contract with the Forest Service, went down just before 2 p.m. Central Standard Time, said Stanislaus National Forest spokesman Jerry Snyder.

    Also killed were the pilot, Jose Victor Gonzales of Brainerd Helicopter Service, and Charles Edgar. No other information was available this morning on Edgar and Gonzales.

    Snyder said a "mayday" call was received at 1:50 p.m. CST, just before the helicopter went down.

    Greeno was coordinating the prescribed burn operation at the time of the accident, Snyder said.

    Greeno was Helitac superintendent of the Bald Mountain Heliport on Highway 108 in Tuolumne County, across from Little Sweden in the Mi-Wok Ranger District.

    He trained and supervised firefighting crews, ranging from one helicopter and three people during the off season to several helicopters and 14-person crews during the height of the firefighting season.

    A U.S. Forest Service employee for 25 years, he spent most of that time with the Stanislaus National Forest.

    He lived in Soulsbyville for the past five years with his wife, Lori; stepson, Marcus Terry, 14, and daughter, Montana, 11.

    His wife said she and her children arrived home about 6 p.m., and were met by Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn and four other high ranking forest officials.

    "When I saw them all walking up to my door, I knew, even though I wasn't ready to admit it," she said. "They wouldn't have sent that many people if he was just hurt."

    Mi-Wok District Ranger Ann Denton sent the following e-mail last night to employees of the district and Stanislaus National Forest headquarters in Sonora:

    "Mi-Wok has lost one of its finest. ...

    "His commitment to safety, his goofy laugh, his extensive knowledge and his commitment to train and bring out the best in those he supervised, that's gone."

    The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, Snyder said.

    Services for Greeno are pending at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home in Sonora.

    http://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/st...story_no=16781

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    Brainerd Helicopter chopper crashes in Texas, three die

    None of victims are believed to be from area

    By MATT ERICKSON
    Staff Writer
    Three people were killed Thursday when a Brainerd Helicopter Service Inc. helicopter under contract with the U.S. Forest Service crashed during prescribed burning operations near Lufkin, Texas, officials in Texas reported.

    The victims, none of whom were believed to be from the Brainerd area, were identified as pilot Jose Victor Gonzales, John Greeno and Charles Edgar, said Heather Crustner, a dispatcher with the Texas Department of Public Safety in Lufkin.

    The three were the only occupants of the craft, and they died at the scene. Ages and hometowns were not immediately available.

    Lee Andrew, Brainerd, owner of Brainerd Helicopter Service Inc., said Gonzales was hired out of Texas and had worked for him for about three weeks. The other two passengers in the helicopter weren't his employees, Andrew said.

    "It's just terrible," said Andrew of the crash.

    The helicopter, a Bell 206B-3, went down around 2 p.m. about 60 miles northeast of Lufkin in East Texas, said Gay Ippolito, a public affairs officer with the Forest Service.

    The helicopter had flown all morning, then refueled and returned to fly in the afternoon over the rural, pine-studded region, said Shelby County (Texas) Sheriff Newton Johnson.

    "The helicopter came over the radio, they were saying, 'Mayday, Mayday, we're going down,' and they crashed in the national forest," Johnson said.

    Justice of the Peace O.B. Furlow said the area surrounding the crash site has such dense vegetation that officials had to use a bulldozer to get to the scene.

    "It's nothing but pine wood back there," Furlow said.

    The 206B-3 is described on the Bell Helicopter Web site as the most popular turbine helicopter of all time. It seats five and has a maximum cruising speed of 133 mph.

    Andrew said for the past seven or eight years he has contracted his helicopters, of which he currently has five, each winter for work in Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana and the southern United States. In addition to doing work for the U.S. Forest Service, Andrew said his helicopters are used to check power lines and do aerial work for the Department of the Interior.

    Andrew said the last time one of his helicopter's crashed was in June 2003 while taking photographs of the Forestview Middle School construction. The three people on board the helicopter in that crash were uninjured except for some small cuts and bruises. The only other crash of a Brainerd Helicopter Service Inc. helicopter was in 1988.

    "We've had some slight accidents, but never had a loss of life or anything," Andrew said.

    The Sabine National Forest drew attention in early 2003 as an area where the space shuttle Columbia recovery efforts were concentrated. All seven astronauts died when Columbia broke apart and burned during re-entry.

    (This story includes information from The Associated Press.)

    http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache...reeno%22&hl=en

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    Greeno, John

    Age: 51
    Cause of Death: Vehicle Collision
    Rank: Fire Base Manager
    Nature of Death: Trauma
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 03/10/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 13:55
    Activity Type: Riding Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 03/10/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service, Sabine National Fore
    National Forests in Texas
    415 S. First Street, Suite 110
    Lufkin , Texas 75901
    Chief: Forest Supervisor Fred Salinas

    Initial Summary:
    Jose Victor Gonzales, John Greeno and Charles Edgar all died as a result of a helicopter crash while working a prescribed burn, dropping fire pellets to start fires in the forest below, near Shelbyville, TX. The cause of the helicopter crash is still to be determined.

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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    Gonzales, Jose Victor

    Age: 45
    Cause of Death: Vehicle Collision
    Rank: Pilot
    Nature of Death: Trauma
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 03/10/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 13:55
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 03/10/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service, Sabine National Fore
    National Forests in Texas
    415 S. First Street, Suite 110
    Lufkin , Texas 75901
    Chief: Forest Supervisor Fred Salinas

    Initial Summary:
    Jose Victor Gonzales, John Greeno and Charles Edgar all died as a result of a helicopter crash while working a prescribed burn, dropping fire pellets to start fires in the forest below, near Shelbyville, TX. The cause of the helicopter crash is still to be determined.


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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    Edgar, Charles Lynn

    Age: 54
    Cause of Death: Vehicle Collision
    Rank: Fire Management Officer
    Nature of Death: Trauma
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 03/10/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 13:55
    Activity Type: Riding Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 03/10/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    United States Forest Service, Sabine National Fore
    National Forests in Texas
    415 S. First Street, Suite 110
    Lufkin , Texas 75901
    Chief: Forest Supervisor Fred Salinas

    Initial Summary:
    Jose Victor Gonzales, John Greeno and Charles Edgar all died as a result of a helicopter crash while working a prescribed burn, dropping fire pellets to start fires in the forest below, near Shelbyville, TX. The cause of the helicopter crash is still to be determined.

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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