FOURMILE LAKE, Ore. – An off-duty firefighter staged near the Launch Fire at Fourmile Lake died Tuesday night in what officials are calling accidental in nature.
According to Sgt. Darren Frank at the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, 21-year old Matthew David Goodnature, of Phoenix, Oregon was taking a walk away from his fire camp at about 6:30 p.m. when the accident happened.
Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case, and said he cannot draw any conclusions until his investigation is done. However, it appears that Goodnature tripped on a large rock and fell backwards. Scruff marks and other traces indicated Goodnature fell on a log, breaking his lower back.
He says little other information is available because nobody was near the scene at the time.
“We’re looking at all the information we can get at this point in time,” said Kennedy. “We’ve done interviews with all of the people in his fire crew that were out there.”
According to investigators, crews realized Goodnature was missing after doing a headcount at camp. They then conducted a grid search, finding him more than three hours after what is believed to be the time of the accident.
X-rays are being done and an autopsy will reveal exactly what happened later this week. Right now there is no evidence of foul play.
Goodnature worked for Pacific Oasis Wildland Firefighting out of Ashland. The Phoenix Police Department have notified next of kin.