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Idaho Firefighter Dies Fighting Palo Pinto County Blaze

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PALO PINTO COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Firefighters across Texas and the country are mourning the loss of one of their own. The rescuer died Thursday while fighting the latest fire in Palo Pinto County.

Caleb Hamm was battling a wildfire near Mineral Wells when he collapsed. Hamm was a member of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Bonneville Interagency Hotshot crew, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The 24-year-old from Idaho died while being transported to the hospital by helicopter ambulance. An autopsy will be performed but there’s speculation his death is heat-related. Temperatures in the area reached 105-degrees the day Hamm collapsed.

Don Smurthwaite, with the National Interagency Fire Center, says their firefighters are all trained to look out for one another, but something obviously went wrong.

“They know exactly what to do and that is to get them off the line and begin medical treatment. However, in this case it doesn’t appear that that system worked the way it should have.”

Smurthwaite says when the investigation is complete there will most likely be recommendations handed down on how to prevent this kind of accident from happening again.

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