SALEM, Ore. — Flags at Oregon state institutions will fly at half-staff on Thursday in honor of Frumencio Ruiz Carapia, a Medford man who died while working as a contracted wildland firefighter in Lane County last month.
The 56-year-old Carapia was working along the eastern edge of the Gales Fire in August when he was struck by a falling tree. Though crews immediately tried to help him, Ruiz Carapia succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Friends and family remembered Carapia as a caring, honest, and humble man. On August 26, a procession of firefighters and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies escorted Carapia's body as it was returned to Medford.
On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown issued an order that all flags at Oregon public institutions be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, September 9, in Carapia's honor. This coincides with Carapia's memorial service in Medford.
"On behalf of the State of Oregon and a grateful community, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family of Frumencio Ruiz Carapia," said Governor Brown. "Wildland firefighting is often difficult and dangerous work that requires those who do it to leave those they love and cherish to protect people they may never meet. We honor the memory of Mr. Ruiz Carapia and will remember his sacrifice."
The National Wildfire Suppression Association will hold a ceremony in Ruiz Carapia's honor at noon on Thursday at the Jackson County Expo. His body then will be sent to Querétaro, Mexico, where his mother and brothers live.
There are two GoFundMe pages set up to support Carapia's family and help with funeral expenses: one from a friend and neighbor and another set up by family members. Both have exceeded their initial $10,000 goal.