We’re finally learning more about why a 19 year old firefighter died during the Big Windy Complex fire last year. He was crushed by a water tender.
Jesse Trader was operating a 1966 tanker for the first time on a winding road. That’s when witness say the brakes began to smoke, the tanker left the road, and rolled.
The investigation reveals the water tender was fully loaded, exceeding the maximum vehicle weight by more than 5 thousand pounds. Also, the vehicle was outfitted only with rear brakes. Investigators say that, combined with the lack of experience all contributed to the accident.
“One of the things we are going to start asking is that all the contracted water tenders have breaks on all axles,” says Jim Whittington, Public Affairs Officer for the BLM.
It is the intent of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Oregon Department of Forestry to prevent this accident from happening again.