A Cal Fire preliminary report shows that a supervisor’s radio failed just after a tree fell and killed one inmate firefighter on May 24.
Inmate firefighters were clearing brush when a 146-foot-long tree toppled and struck 26-year-old Matthew Beck in the head. The crew used saws to remove the section of the tree pinning beck.
The supervisor could not reach the emergency command center to request an ambulance because his handheld radio didn’t work. That was a preliminary finding from a Cal Fire green sheet report, according to KQED.
The captain had to drive one of the rigs a quarter mile before he could reach command on the vehicle’s radio. By the time medics arrived, Beck no longer had a pulse. Paramedics estimated that he died less than an hour after being struck by the tree.
The tree that fell had been identified as a hazard prior to work being done in that area, the report said.