Incident Name: Mailbox Fire near Lake City, FL
Date: May 13, 2004, 1700 hrs
Personnel: Randy Rayford Henderson of Bienville Ranger District, Mississippi
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Summary: Firefighter Randy Henderson was detailed to the Osceola National Forest in Florida. He was assigned as the Forest's Fire Management Officer. Randy Henderson and other firefighters were fighting the Mailbox Fire near Lake City, Florida. Randy was assigned as a safety officer on the incident. The duties of the safety officer included monitoring firefighters, fire fighting activities, and the weather. Randy was in radio contact with the incident commander. When he didn't respond to radio calls, a search was initiated. He was found lying on the ground facing the fire. He had sustained burns. His collapse, however, was caused by a fatal heart attack.
Mailbox Fire was near Lake City, FL
- 72-hour News Release: VERTIS STOVALL, PIO, USDA Forest Service
The National Forests in Mississippi is saddened to announce the death of one of our Forest Service family. On Thursday, May 13, 2004. Randy H. Henderson, 42, died while assigned as a Safety Officer on the Mailbox Fire located on the Osceola Ranger District of the National Forests in Florida. An investigation Team is currently on site; the cause of death is unknown at this time.
For three weeks Randy has been detailed to the Osceola as District Fire Management Officer. His permanent position was on the Bienville Ranger District in Forest, Mississippi; where he began his Forest Service career in 1980.
Randy Henderson is survived by his wife Patsy and daughters Nicki and Stacy. The family will hold a visitation Monday, May 17, 2004 from 6-9 p.m. and Tuesday, May 18, at 9 a.m. ?12 p.m. at Ott and Lee Funeral Home in Forest, MS. Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. at Lorena Baptist Church, Hwy 35, in Lorena, Mississippi.
District Ranger David Carter expressed his thoughts by saying, "Our district has suffered a great loss, which will be felt for a long time. Randy was an employee who took his job seriously and was dedicated to providing a safe working environment for all employees. He loved his job as Assistant Fire Management Officer and was always ready to pack his bags when needed to assist with wildfires. Our thoughts and prayers are with Randy's family at this time."
Forest Supervisor Gerry Farmer stated, "Randy Henderson was indeed a valuable asset to the National Forests in Mississippi. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends."
Cards may be sent to: Henderson Family, C/O Bienville Ranger District, 3473 Hwy. 35 South, Forest, MS 39074
- US Forest Service: Expanded 72-hr report (85 K pdf)
- Randy Henderson named as fallen
- 72 hour Report description: Wildfire News via the Wayback Machine (scroll down to middle of articles)
- US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Randy Henderson
- USFA Memorial Database: Randy Rayford Henderson
Contributors to this article: John Miller, Kelly Andersson
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