Incident Name: Kegg or Keg Pit Fire, Shasta National Forest
Date: August 28, 1945
Personnel: Jess T Ward
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Position: bulldozer operator
Summary: On August 28, 1945, Jess Ward died while operating a bulldozer on the Kegg Pit Fire, at the Southern Pacific Railroad's gravel quarry near the community of Bray, CA. Jess was recovering from a heart condition. He discovered the operator who replaced him chasing and intimidating a Mexican fire crew with his bulldozer. Jess stepped in, had words with the operator and took over the assignment and the bulldozer, dying almost immediately from a massive heart attack.
Southern Pacific Railroad's gravel quarry near the community of Bray, Siskiyou County, CA
- from "Memories of the Goosenest" by E. Bruce Barron in Memorable Forest Fires: Stories by the U. S. Forest Service Retirees, 1995, Gilbert W. Davies & Florence M Frank, FS Retirees, eds, page 21. The Goosenest RD was on the old Shasta Forest...
During the late summer of 1945, Jess Ward, another affable longtime Forest Service bulldozer operator met an untimely death from a heart attack hastened by an altercation with another dozer operator. It was a rotten, miserable b**** of an occasion that developed on the Kegg Pit Fire at the Southern Pacific Railroad's gravel quarry near the community of Bray... (more of the story)...
Jess Ward was a personal friend and I couldn't swallow the lump in my throat as I helped dig his grave and witness his burial at that lonely Shovel Creek Cemetary, located near a place called Sam's Neck at the northern end of Ball Mountain.
- Historic NPS Document (3,985 K pdf): The expansion of the Railroads from Black Butte, Siskiyou Co, CA to Natron, OR; researching location of Bray, CA
Contributors to this article: John Miller, and memorialized in words in the Memorable Forest Fires: Stories by the U. S. Forest Service Retirees, 1995, Gilbert W. Davies & Florence M Frank, by Jess Ward's friend Bruce Barron; OldLPF, BKA, cafban, Firedozr, Mellie.
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