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Thirty Mile Fire Fatality Report
The Thirty Mile Fire was first discovered during the evening of July 9. An unattended camp fire is
the suspected cause. During the afternoon of July 11, 2001, high winds developed causing the Thirty Mile Fire
in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA to blow up and grow from approximately 5 acres to over
2500 acres within 2 ½ hours.
21 firefighters and 2 civilians were entrapped in a narrow canyon of the Chewuch River Valley.
Fires shelters were deployed in an area surrounded by fire on all sides. Four firefighters were killed and another
four firefighters and 2 civilians were injured. Most of the injured are either in satisfactory condition or have
been treated and released with one exception. One firefighter was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in
Seattle, WA and is listed as serious and stable.
“This is a great tragedy and loss that is felt by all firefighters and agency employees everywhere,”
said Sonny J. O’Neal Forest Service Supervisor of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. “Firefighters
are a family and any time a firefighter is killed, grief is felt by all.”
A national investigation team will visit the site today to determine the cause of the tragedy and to
look for lessons that can improve firefighter safety everywhere.
A national Type I incident management team is assembling today to assume responsibility for
suppression of the Thirty Mile Fire.
Families of firefighters killed and injured have been notified. All firefighters entrapped were
members of a combined crew from the Naches Ranger District and the Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth
Ranger District of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.
Those killed include Tom L. Craven, 30, Ellensburg, WA; Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18, Yakima, WA;
Devin A. Weaver, 21, Yakima, WA; and Jessica L. Johnson, 19, Yakima, WA.
Those injured are: Jason W. Emhoff, 21, Yakima, WA, who was transported to Harborview
Medical Center and is currently listed as serious and stable; Thomas R. Taylor, 31, Leavenworth, WA, to be
released from Brewster Hospital this morning; Scott Sherzinger, 24, Selah, WA treated and released; and
Rebecca Welch, 22, Naches, WA, treated and released.
Because of the remoteness of the entrapment site, and the need for an investigation, it will not be
possible to recover the bodies until today.
Today, the Thirty Mile Fire is being monitored as a strategy is being developed for its suppression.
The exact size will not be known until mapping is completed. The new incident management team will
determine numbers of firefighters and types of equipment needed to suppress the fire.
Name, Age, place of residence, crew
Tom L. Craven, 30, Ellensburg, WA, Naches Ranger District Crew
Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18, Yakima, WA, Naches Ranger District Crew
Devin A. Weaver, 21, Yakima, WA, Naches Ranger District Crew
Jessica L. Johnson, 19, Yakima, WA, Naches Ranger District Crew
OTHER FACTS: All deceased and injured employees were temporary seasonal employees except for Tom L. Craven who was a permanent seasonal.
Status of Injured Firefighters as of 2330, 7/10/01
Name, age, town of
Jason W. Emhoff, 21, Serious and stable, 30% of Body with Naches Crew
Yakima, WABurns; alert & talking; He was airlifted to
Harborview Hospital, Seattle
Thomas (Thom) R. Taylor, 31 Satisfactory condition, minor burns;Lake Wenatchee,
Chattaroy, WA held in Brewster Hospital overnight& Leavenworth
and to be released in the morning. Crew
Scott Sherzinger, 24 Minor burns; treated and released fromNaches Crew
Selah, WACountry Clinic, Winthrop
Rebecca Welch, 222nd degree burns on right side; treated and Naches Crew
Naches, WA released from Country Clinic, Winthrop
Two civilians were also injured.
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