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Incident Name:  Camp Pendleton Brush Fire
Date: 11/1/1966
Personnel: 5 lives lost
Age:
Agency/Organization: US Marine Corps
Position: United States Marines, part of a staging battallion awaiting transfer to Vietnam

Summary:

The Fallen:
Lance Corporal Roger L. Zarbok, 19, St. Paul, MN
Private First Class Leslie W. Hendrix, 20, Keyes, CA
Private First Class Cecil J. Henshew, 20, Bellevue, WA
Private Lewis W. Connor, 20, Kenova, WV
Private First Class Henry S. Terrazas, 20, Austin, TX

Four marines were killed and another burned critically when they were trapped on a ridge while battling a brush fire at Camp Pendleton. A shift in winds caused a flashback fire. Survivor Pfc Henry S. Terrazas of Austin TX was airlifted to the base hospital. He suffered burns over 90% of his body and later died.

 

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Maps

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA: "on an elevation overlooking a canyon known as Piedra de Lumbre -- Rock of Fire"

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Documentation that three marines were killed (plus 10 El Cariso Hotshots who died hours earlier on the Loop Fire, on the nearby Angeles National Forest).

    US Marines Burned Over US Marines Burned Over

  • Documentation of 4 marine fatalities and another critically injured in the Camp Pendleton Fire; discussion also of fatalities on the Loop Fire on the same day on the Angeles National Forest.

    4 US Marines Burned Over 4 US Marines Burned Over

  • Documentation of a fourth marine fatality and name of the fifth marine in the group that was critically burned.

    LA Times, Thurs Morning Nov 3 edition, page 1:

    They were among 300 troops and 21 civilian firemen who fought five different brush fires which blackened 5,000 acres before being brought under control at 3:30 PM.

    The main blaze, which charred about 4,000 acres, started from unknown causes at 9:40 AM Tuesday in an uninhabited area about 3 mi east of Interstate 5 between San Clemente and Oceanside...(snip)

    The bodies of three of the marines were discovered at 10:15 AM Wednesday (11/2). It was not determined when they died. In the afternoon, about an hour after the main blaze was brought under control, fire fighters entered the burned area and found the charred body of the fourth victim.

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Contributors to this article: Mellie, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

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