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Firefighter With Ashland Contractor Injured In Kincade Fire

Josh Edelson/Getty Images via NPR
A home burns at a vineyard during the Kincade fire near Geyserville, Calif., last week.

UPDATE: THURSDAY, NOV.7 10:00 a.m. Titan Cheatham, the firefighter injured in the Kincade Fire, is still recovering at the burn center at UC Davis Medical Center, according to his employer Steve Dodds, co-owner of Ashland-based wildland firefighting contractor Pacific Oasis.

“I don’t think he could be in a better place,” Dodds said, “Unfortunately, it was a terrible accident.”

Cheatham sustained second- and third-degree burns when the fuel cap came off on a gas-powered chainsaw. His burns were mainly sustained to his legs, according to Dodds, who said Cheatham is in good spirits and is slowly recovering after receiving a skin graft.

The accident occurred despite Cheatham following all safety precautions and wearing appropriate protective gear, according to Dodds.   

UPDATE: FRIDAY, NOV.1 10:30 a.m. A firefighter who works for an Ashland-based wildland firefighting contractor was severely burned on Sunday while working the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.

Titan Cheatham of Klamath Falls is employed by Pacific Oasis Wildland Firefighting. Cheatham confirmed his identity on Friday morning with JPR.

At the time of the incident, the cap came loose on a gas-powered chainsaw, splashing Cheatham's pants with fuel, according to a spokesperson for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the agency investigating the incident.

Cheatham's pants caught fire, resulting in second- and third-degree burns. He was transferred to the burn center at the UC Davis Medical Center.

A representative from the medical center confirmed that his condition is good, but said that he is still recovering at the hospital.

Pacific Oasis, the wildland firefighting contractor, declined to comment on the incident.

According to Cal Fire, there have been four first responder injuries during the Kincade Fire.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.