A firefighter has left behind a pregnant wife and young daughter after being killed whilst battling the raging wildfires that have engulfed much of Southern California.
Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old fire-engine strike team member of Cal Fire’s San Diego unit, was just one of the 4,000 strong army of firefighters called in to tackle the blaze on Ventura County.
“We are deeply saddened to have to notify you of a fatality involving one of our firefighters,” the station agency confirmed on social media.
“Today, Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson has succumbed to fatal injuries while engaged in fire suppression efforts on the Thomas Fire. We ask that everyone take a minute to keep the entire Iverson family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
Very sad scene as the flag draped body of @CALFIRESANDIEGO firefighter Cory Iverson is brought in a hearse, with a procession of at least 50 fire and law enforcement vehicles, to the @VCFD Coroners office. Lost his life fighting the #ThomasFire @ABC7 #Air7HD pic.twitter.com/OMSeraHOk9
— J.T. Alpaugh (@ABC7JT) December 15, 2017
— L.A. Times Photos (@latimesphotos) December 15, 2017
“Cory and Ashley are expecting a second daughter this spring. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cory’s family and all of his friends and co-workers throughout the department and the fire service,” Cal Fire Director Chief Ken Pimlott said, according to NBC.
The circumstances surrounding Cory’s death remain unclear, and an investigation is set to be launched into the incident. Cal Fire San Diego Chief Tony Meacham revealed that Iverson was embroiled involved with a “very active part of the fire” just outside of Fillmore when the accident happened but did not provide any further details.
We are deeply saddened to have to notify you of a fatality involving one of our firefighters. Today, Fire Apparatus Engineer Cory Iverson has succumbed to fatal injuries while engaged in fire suppression efforts on the Thomas Fire. We ask that everyone take a minute to keep the entire Iverson family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
— James Morrison (@JamesPMorrison) December 15, 2017
“This incident has shaken our organization to the core,” Meacham said, as reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune. “It has affected it statewide, but no more than here in San Diego County.”
“My heart shattered when I learned what happened to him,” Cal Fire San Diego spokesman Heggie said of Iverson’s death. “I can only imagine the pain his wife and his family are going through, and all of us in the fire service are feeling it for them.”
“Please join me in keeping our fallen firefighter and his loved ones in your prayers and all the responders on the front lines in your thoughts as they continue to work under extremely challenging conditions,” Pimlott he said a written statement, adding that an accident review team had been assigned to investigate the incident of Cory’s death.
“Until this review is complete, there is nothing more that I can share,” he said. “What I can say is ‘thank you’ for the outpouring of support for Cory’s family and the Cal Fire family.”