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Incident Name:  Mill Creek Fire, San Bernardino National Forest, CA
Date: 9/29/1928
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Age: 
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Position: firefighters

Summary: 

Luis C Chacon, described as a "youth" , US Forest Service, of San Bernarodino
Unknown firefighter, over 21 according to the coroner but also described as a "youth" in media articles, US Forest Service
The unknown firefighter was likely to  have been F. Romero of San Bernarodino, as reported by his and Chacon's 7-man crew chief; alternatively it might have been Manuel Vasquez from another crew, who was reported as missing by his mother because he had a gold filling like the unidentifiable young man; she didn't want to go view the bodies.

On 9/29/1928, ninety-seven firefighters were fighting the Mill Creek Fire on the San Bernardino National Forest. An 8-member crew and others were trying to contain the fire at the head of Crystal Creek. "On a steep hillside embers rolled below firefighters working there, starting another fire." A number of the men saw the danger in time and escaped. Two were trapped between the two fires and didn't make it. Luis Chacon and a second unidentifiable firefighter were entrapped and died. These were the first deaths on the newly formed San Bernardino National Forest.

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Maps

burnover deaths occurred near the head of Crystal Creek, on the Mill Creek Fire

Map of the Mill Creek Fire, 1928

Mill Creek Fire, 1928 Mill Creek Fire, 1928

 

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Death Certificate for Lewis Chacon

    Death Certificate for Lewis Chacon Death Certificate for Lewis Chacon

  • Death Certificate for the unknown firefighter; given the 7-man crew with two not returning, the young man was probably F. Romero according to his crew boss.

    Death Certificate for unknown firefighter Death Certificate for unknown firefighter

  • Media articles naming Luis Chacon and explaining the difficulty with identification of the second firefighter who was burned beyond recognition.
Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter
Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter
 
Trying to identify unknown firefighter Trying to identify unknown firefighter
Trying to identify unknown firefighter Trying to identify unknown firefighter
Trying to identify unknown firefighter Trying to identify unknown firefighter
Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter
Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter Lewis Chacon and unknown firefighter
  • Fire History -- 1928, Region 5: California
    Region 5 Fire History, 1928 Region 5 Fire History, 1928
    Region 5 Fire History, 1928 Region 5 Fire History, 1928
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    Contributors to this article:  John Miller: Hat tip to the folks at the San Bernardino County records office and Cortner Mortuary who went out of their way to provide information.

     

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