The death of a Cal Fire engineer from the San Diego area, who was killed fighting the massive Thomas Fire that’s burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, prompted a statement Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown:
“Anne and I are saddened by Engineer Cory Iverson’s tragic death. His bravery and years of committed service to the people of California will never be forgotten.
“Engineer Iverson, 32, of Escondido, died today while fighting the 242,500-acre Thomas Fire near Fillmore in Ventura County. Engineer Iverson was an 8-year veteran of CAL FIRE.
“He is survived by his wife, Ashley, who is pregnant, and their two-year-old daughter, Evie; mother, Denise Butler; stepfather, Scott Butler; and father, Craig Iverson.
“In honor of Engineer Iverson, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.”
Iverson, a fire apparatus engineer, “succumbed to fatal injuries while engaged in fire suppression efforts on the Thomas Fire,” according to a statement from Cal Fire San Diego.
“More details will be made available as they are confirmed,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said. “In the meantime, please join me in keeping our fallen firefighter and his loved ones in your prayers (and) all the responders on the front lines in your thoughts as they continue to work under extremely challenging conditions.”
Iverson was assigned to the Thomas Fire as part of a fire-engine strike team from Cal Fire’s San Diego unit.
“Cory and Ashley are expecting a second daughter this spring,” Pimlott said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Cory’s family and all of his friends and co-workers throughout the department and the fire service.”
Cal Fire has assigned an accident-review team to determine the circumstances and cause of the fatality, according to Pimlott, who added that “until this review is complete, there is nothing more I can share.”
“What I can say is a heartfelt and deep thank you for the outpouring of support for Cory’s family and the Cal Fire family,” the chief said.
Despite the traumatic loss off a valued colleague, firefighting personnel “must keep our focus on the fire,” Pimlott said.
“The firefight in front of us continues to go on,” he said. “The communities we are protecting are depending on us, and we will not fail.”
The Thomas Fire has charred about 242,500 acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 structures since erupting north of Santa Paula 10 days ago, making it the fourth largest blaze in California history. It was roughly 30 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, according to Cal Fire.
–Staff, City News Service
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