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Incident Name: Honda Canyon Fire
Date:  12/20/1977, approximately 0945 hrs
Personnel: 4 Lives Lost
Age:
Agency/Organization:  Vandenberg Air Force Base
Position:

Summary: 

Colonel Joseph Turner, 48
Fire Chief Billy Bell, 44
Assistant Fire Chief Eugene Cooper, 45
Heavy Equipment Operator Clarence McCauley

Around 0700 a downed power line started a fire on Vandenburg Air Force Base. Fire and Military personnel from the base, and Santa Barbara County Reources responded. The fire was driven by Santa Ana winds, and made a major run around 0930 hrs towards crews working in Honda Canyon. Joseph Turner, Billy Bell, and Eugene Cooper tried to escape, but were entrapped on Avery Road; all 3 were found deceased at 1200. Clarence McCauley was operating a bulldozer on Target Ridge Road, he was badly burned and died 2 weeks later. There were a total of 8 fire overruns (85 K pdf) on the Honda Canyon Fire.

 

Colonel Joseph Turner, Fire Chief Billy Bell, Assistant Fire Chief Eugene Cooper, Heavy Equipment Operator Clarence McCauley

Joseph Turner Joseph Turner
Billy Bell Billy Bell
Eugene Cooper Eugene Cooper
Clarence McCauley Clarence McCauley

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Accident Site (approximate)

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3 of the 4 Fallen are Named

Honda Canyon Fallen Honda Canyon Fallen

 

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Contributors to this article: Joe Valencia

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