CDCR inmate firefighter dies of injuries

CDCR today announced that an inmate firefighter in Humboldt County has died as the result of injuries sustained while working on a fire line in Del Norte County.

The firefighter, Matthew Beck, 26, was leading a crew that was clearing brush in a fire prevention project in the Hoopa area. He suffered major head, neck and back injuries yesterday when a large, 120-foot tall tree nearby uprooted and fell on him. He died before life-flight crews were able to reach him due to the remoteness of the accident scene.

“We are saddened by the death of Matthew Beck, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “The inmates who year after year help protect our communities from the devastation of fires perform a valuable public service, and it is a tragic event when we lose one of them.”

Beck, who was assigned to the Alder Conservation Camp in Del Norte County, was received from Los Angeles County in May 2014 and was serving a six-year sentence for burglary. He is the fourth inmate firefighter to die on the fire line since the conservation program was created in the 1940s.

Approximately 3,900 inmates, all volunteers, are housed in 43 conservation camps operated by CDCR, in conjunction with CALFIRE, the state of California’s wild land firefighting agency, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.  Working in crews of 12 or 14, CDCR firefighters often work in rugged back country using hand tools to cut containment lines to stop the spread of wildland fires.


5 Responses

  1. Annalisa Mitchell Friday, May 26, 2017 / 1:18 pm

    Condolences to his familiy, wishing healing and peace to the fire fighters who served with him.
    in life people may not remember what you said, but they will always remember what you did.
    A very couragous act, may he rest in peace.

  2. Noel pascua Friday, May 26, 2017 / 10:44 am

    Mr.Beck did a couragous act and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his community. His heroic act will be remembered. RIP! God bless Mr.Beck and his family.

  3. Laarni Ramirez Friday, May 26, 2017 / 8:26 am

    RIP Mr. Beck. Prayers and condolences to his family.

  4. LT G. Acosta Thursday, May 25, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    “Our current life and our future status isn’t defined by our past, but rather we are defined by our present actions…ultimately defined by our final actions.”

    God Bless you Mr. Beck

    “Courage — a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.”
    — Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

  5. Leonor Vasquez Thursday, May 25, 2017 / 3:49 pm

    May he rest in peace and prayers to his family 🙁

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