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Incident Name:  North Stansbury Fire, lightning strikes
Date: 8/23/2000, 1212 hrs
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: Fire Dept. Info: Flame-N-Go Handline Fire Unit, Utah State Prison
P.O. Box 250, Draper, Utah 84020, Chief: Captain Robert Powell
Position: firefighters from the Flame-N-Go Handline Unit, UT


Michael Todd Bishop, 27
Rodgie R. Braithwaite, 26

Firefighters Bishop and Braithwaite were members of a 20-person, Type2, handcrew assigned to the North Stansbury Fire, about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City. The crew had been transported by helicopter to the fireline for work. The crew was assembled for work at about 11:25 a.m. At just after noon, a squad of six firefighters, including Firefighters Bishop and Braithwaite, proceeded toward their assigned work area. A storm cell with lightning, heavy rain, and marble-sized hail moved into the area.

Firefighters Bishop and Braithwaite and another firefighter took refuge under nearby trees, and the rest of the squad moved to a lower point. Lightning struck the trees where the firefighters were located. Firefighters Bishop and Braithwaite were found in respiratory arrest.The other firefighter was injured. Emergency procedures, including CPR, were initiated, and the injured firefighters were removed to the hospital by helicopter. Despite these efforts, Firefighters Bishop and Braithwaite were later pronounced dead. The cause of death for both firefighters was listed as electrocution due to lightning.

Flame-N-Go Flamingo Memorial Remembrance Pin, contributed by PC in 2000

Flame-N-Go Flamingo Remembrance Pin Flame-N-Go Flamingo Remembrance Pin

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  • 2 Utah Inmates Die Fighting Wildfires

    8/23/2000 | lodd (no longer online)

    Lightning struck a firefighting crew in Utah's Stansbury Mountains, about 45 miles west of Salt Lake City, killing two and injuring four others Wednesday afternoon. The crew, called the Flame-N-Go's, is made up of inmates from the Utah State Prison. They had been working a fire that covered about 250 acres and was 100 percent contained late Wednesday.

    The men killed are Michael Bishop, 27, and Rodgie Braithwaite, 26. Bishop would have been up for parole in July 2002. Braithwaite was set for parole in October of next year. The four injured have been released from area hospitals. Mary Ellis with the Fallen Firefighters Foundation in Emmitsburg, Md, said the two firefighters killed would likely be considered Line-of-Duty Deaths. The U.S. Fire Administration has always honored prison inmates who were involved in firefighting duties when they died, she said.

    Glen Foreman, public affairs officer with the Utah Bureau of Land Management, said the crew was doing mop-up work when they saw the storm coming. They were moving to shelter when the lightning struck. Foreman said the crews from the prison system have been working wildfires for 22 years. "They are some of our best trained and best experienced firefighters. On the fire line they are firefighters. In the 22 years, there has never been a fatality among the inmates, which run several crews during the wildfire season, Foreman said. He had nothing but praise for their work saying they do a "superb job".

    This year the NFFF will honor Martin Stiles, 40, an inmate from Los Angeles County, California, who died while fighting a wildland fire in July 1999.

  • Inmates Battling West's Fires /Help States and Themselves

    9/5/2000 | Online Article

    Back in Utah, they are inmates at Bluffdale State Prison. But out here in the fire zone, they strut proudly in black T-shirts proclaiming themselves members of the Flame 'N' Go Hotshots.

    ''Being in this program makes all the difference,'' Bart Clark, 33, a six-time felon who has spent 11 of the last 15 years in prison, said this morning before shouldering his backpack on a hill acrid with smoke. ''Now I can tell my 4-year-old son that his dad isn't in prison, he's out fighting fires.'' Almost every day since mid-May, Mr. Clark -- ... (more at the link above)

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Contributors to this article: Mellie, PC, DH, Steve Lutz


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