Incident Name: Mill Creek Fire, San Bernardino National Forest, CA
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
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.
burnover deaths occurred near the head of Crystal Creek, on the Mill Creek Fire
Map of the Mill Creek Fire, 1928
- 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.
- Media articles naming Luis Chacon and explaining the difficulty with identification of the second firefighter who was burned beyond recognition.
- The unidentified was buried in an unmarked grave at Hillside Cemetery in Redlands, CA.
- US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Luis C Chacon and an unidentified firefighter
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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