West Albany grad dies in crash returning from wildfire - KPTV - FOX 12

West Albany grad dies in crash returning from wildfire

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A water truck driver working on one of five major forest fires in southwestern Oregon has died in a crash.

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says the 19-year-old man was returning Tuesday morning after spending all night at the Big Windy complex of fires.

He was identified Tuesday evening as Jesse Trader. West Albany High School representatives said he graduated in 2012.

Gilbertson said Trader was on his way to hand off the keys to a replacement driver.

The water tender Trader was driving is owned by Ace Earthmoving and was being utilized by County Fire, a private fire suppression company serving the Merlin area and contracted to assist with the Big Windy Fire.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Governor John Kitzhaber released a statement saying, "Even at such a young age, he was already contributing mightily to his community, and we owe him our gratitude for his commitment to helping protect his fellow citizens."

Trader was the second crew member killed this wildfire season in Oregon, and the 29th nationally.

On Aug. 1, 58-year-old John Hammack was killed in Central Oregon when the tree he was cutting fell on him.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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