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Incident Name:  Liberty Fire, Wenatchee NF, Cle Elum RD
Date: 9/17/1989, 0900
Personnel: Ronald Clinton Nelson
Age: 50
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Position: firefighter

Summary: Ronald Nelson was a member of a 20 person Makeup Fire Crew CPNWR #16 from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that was dispatched to fight the Liberty Fire on 9/16/1989. The crew ended their shift at 1915 hours. The next day Nelson visited the medical unit tent and advised the EMT that he'd had chest pains and nausea the previous day and had taken five nitroglycerin tablets with no reduction in symptoms. When asked, he said he felt OK. The EMT took his blood pressure twice and advised him not to report to the fireline but to go lie down and rest. At 1530 hours when the crew was getting ready to leave, Ron Nelson was found dead in his tent.

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Wenatchee NF, Cle Elum RD, WA

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  •  Forest Service: Liberty Fire Fatality Report (14,647 K large pdf download)
    • No health problems were identified on SF-177
    • He told his supervisor he had a mild heart problem 20 years ago
    • He did not mention taking medications, a doctor appointment, or that his mom had died a month previously; no one on the fire knew of a prefious history of heart problems

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Contributors to this article: John Miller

 

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