Medford Wildland Fire Crew Boss Remembered
The first firefighter to die on the job in Oregon this year was remembered during a ceremony in Central Point on Thursday afternoon.
Family and friends of wildland firefighter crew boss Frumencio Ruiz Carapia gathered at the Jackson County Expo with several hundred firefighters for a memorial.
Many in the audience wore green nomex pants, heavy duty fire boots and matching t-shirts to divide them between crews. Several firefighters rang a large silver bell during a traditional ceremony meant to symbolize the alarms that call firefighters to put their lives at risk.
Afterwards they escorted Carapia’s white casket out of the auditorium.
Victor Gomez worked with Carapia for 20 years at the Medford-based wildland fire contracting company, GE Forestry.
“He respected everybody. Everyone respected him,” Gomez remembers. “He always knew what to say to get you through the assignment and you couldn't help but smile when he was around you.”
Carapia was killed on August 23 while fighting the Gales Fire. It’s burning in the Middle Fork Complex near Eugene. He was hit by a falling tree.
According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland, Carapia was the first firefighting fatality in Oregon this year.