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Incident Name:  Rabbit Fire, Angeles National Forest
Date: July 14, 1967
Personnel: Richard L. Stone
Age: 19
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service, Del Rosa Hot Shots of the San Bernardino National Forest
Position: firefighter

Summary: Richard Stone died on July 14, 1967 when his crew's transport overturned en route to mopping up a 35-acre timber fire, called the Rabbit Fire on the Angeles National Forest. The truck, carrying a 14-man crew, toppled down a 100-foot incline when a soft shoulder gave way. The San Bernardino Firefighter was a member of the elite Del Rosa "Hot Shots" US Forest Service firefighting crew.


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General Incident location description:
Crew was on the way to mop-up on the 35-acre contained Rabbit Fire that had burned on Roundtop Mountain of the ANF.
Another location description: Fire was on a slope of Rabbit Peak, 20 mi north of Pasadena.
The crewcarrier was proceeding up a dirt road near the Chilao Ranger Station when a wheel apparently caught in a soft shoulder.
A general location from a retired ANF Captain: Rabbit Peak about three miles south of Mill Creek Fire Station on 3N18 with Chilao just east of Rabbit Peak.

For further investigation by RJM, please see theysaid it. According to one set of information, he thought the fire was roughly in the circle and the accident perhaps occurred where marked.

Possible Accident Location Possible Accident Location

Update below based on info supplied by several people who worked in the area at the time:

From RJM, our mapmaker/investigator:

The pin in the map above is at the first possible location southwest of Roundtop. Retired BDF is s going to investigate a cross in the bottom of the drainage.

Here's another map with the second location -- RED LINE -- that we're working on; each of these two locations here and the map above fit conflicting information we have.

Red Line: Possible location Red Line: Possible location

In the map above, the red line represents some of the range of accident location possibilities, based on the description “below Pacifico”; the pin at "Accident ??" and in the google map below is lat/lon 34.3766°, -118.03514°; pending better information. The whole road is mostly on the side of a slope; this range of locations would be nearer to Chilao Station. The fire circle moved to the east of Roundtop to fit the alternative information. This second location results from using the information exfed provided; except for the road number 3N90 which does not seem to exist anymore. RJM


From BDF:

Ab, I made it down to the cross on ANF road 4N18 and the name on the cross was not that of Richard Stone. Although the road is similar in appearance this site was extremely steep and narrow.

I believe exfed was right that the incident occurred on ANF 3N90 after reviewing the picture. There are trees in the picture which makes it more likely in that area.

I am obligated to find the spot.

retired BDF Born Green


Newest map from RJM taking into account all the research from everyone; Ab posted his comments in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

2 possible locations for crewbuggy rollover. See RJM's explanation under comments below. 2 possible locations for crewbuggy rollover. See RJM's explanation under comments below.


The final LOCATION -- Lat/Lon on 3N90 -- as determined by Rick Messier's visit to the site.

These photos were taken 11/25/12 along Forest Route 3N90 .8 miles south of its intersection with 3N17. Permission to enter the area was arranged by Jody Smith and facilitated by Linda at Mill Creek Summit Forest Station. This is location #2 as spotted by RJM from Google Earth. Once at the site we were able to find evidence of the wreckage making us 100% certain this is the correct location.

RJM’s research was outstanding. I will also be forwarding my SPOT Google Earth location. (This is the location below.)

Rick Messier

Evidence for accident location Evidence for accident location

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Del Rosa Hot Shot Crew Carrier Accident Report (3,971 K pdf)
  • Photos compliments of the Del Rosa Hotshot archives

Crew Truck Rollover Crew Truck Rollover

Crew Truck Rollover Crew Truck Rollover
Crew Truck Rollover Crew Truck Rollover

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  • They Said It: Oct 28, 2012 and scroll up for discussion by RJM, exfed, Jody, retired BDF
  • They Said It: Nov 11, 2012 and scroll up for continuing discussion about location by retired BDF Born Green, Cathy Val on Nov 15th etc.

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Richard Stone named as fallen

    Rick Stone named as fallen Rick Stone named as fallen

    Rick Stone named as fallen Rick Stone named as fallen

  • from the Del Rosa Hotshots historical record

    Accident News Accident News

  • Richard was a native of Lancaster, CA and was attending Valley College.

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • From the Del Rosa Hotshots archive, Memorial Card

    Del Rosa Hotshots Memorial Card Del Rosa Hotshots Memorial Card

  • From the State of California 2010 Memorial brochure, page 14 .

    State of California Memorial State of California Memorial

  • US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Richard Lee Stone

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Contributors to this article: Del Rosa Hotshots, John Miller, Ken Kempter, RJM, Rene Vanderhooft, Lessons Learned Center, Jody Smith, Linda, Bob Sopp, Ed Few, exfed, Kathy Val, Ray Val


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