By Libby Cluett | email@example.com
The Bureau of Land Management and Texas Forest Service issued a “Serious Accident Investigation Factual Report” regarding Caleb Hamm, who on July 7 collapsed and subsequently died while fighting the 337 Fire in Palo Pinto County.
Autopsy and toxicology results indicate Hamm died of hyperthermia – uncontrolled heating of the body’s core temperature.
“Mr. Hamm, a 23-year-old male, appeared to be in good physical condition. He was beginning his sixth season as a wildland firefighter and his first season with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bonneville IHC [Interagency Hotshot Crew] based in Salt Lake City, Utah,” stated the Serious Accident Investigation Team report issued in October.
The Bonneville IHC arrived in Texas on July 1 after fighting the Honey Prairie fire in Georgia for six days. The crew had three days on standby in Abilene and one evening shift on the Burnett Fire, stated the report.
On July 6, the Bonneville Hotshots arrived in Mineral Wells to help combat a growing blaze, called the 337 Fire, northwest of Mineral Wells.
The hotshots worked to build a handline and cold trail along the black edge, where the dozers could not reach because of rugged terrain.
The Bonneville Hotshots began shift work on July 7 at 7:30 a.m., which began with briefings at Mineral Wells High School and a safety report of the day’s high temperature, forecast for 105 degrees, with a relative humidity of 18 percent to 26 percent.
The crew returned to “Drop Point 20” of the fire at 9 a.m. and received another briefing on site, which “emphasized hydration” and “pacing themselves,” and began its assignment.
They broke at 1:30 p.m. for lunch, topped off canteens and broke into three squads before continuing.
At 3:30 p.m., the report states that the Bonneville assistant superintendent stopped to talk to Hamm and “said he was completely lucid and did not appear to be fatigued.”
At 3:50 p.m., the crew member working with Hamm “asked if he was okay after he stumbled on a rocky slope while hiking down the drainage. Hamm said he was hot with a little headache,” according to the report.
However, the report states the crew member left Hamm to try to tie in with another squad and “said he would be right back … [he was] gone about two to three minutes before returning to Hamm’s location … [and] found Hamm collapsed on the rocks and unconscious.”
At 3:53 p.m., the crew member called the Bonneville assistant superintendent on the radio saying that Hamm was down.
When the crew EMT reached Hamm, he reported the young hotshot had labored breathing and was unresponsive to prompts but was semi-responsive to pain from a sternum rub.
Hamm was about 2,100 feet from Drop Point 20, the closest place an ambulance or helicopter could reach. At first, the operations chief and an air attack pilot tried to evacuate Hamm with the air-attack helicopter.
Between 3:56 p.m. and 4:20 p.m., Hamm’s condition deteriorated and he stopped breathing. At 4:14 p.m. an operations chief “notified Mineral Wells Fire Department from his cell phone. [A MWFD] ambulance was dispatched and was enroute at 1616 hours.”
At 4:16, “Air attack contacted Operations Chief A and recommended Air Evac from Mineral Wells. This request was based on Hamm’s deteriorating condition.”
At 4:21, the SAIT report states that Hamm went into cardiac arrest and that CPR was delayed while Hamm was being extracted, “which took two to three minutes.”
Air Evac arrived at 4:31 p.m. with a paramedic and registered nurse. They reached Hamm at 4:35 p.m. and “began advanced patient care.”
The ambulance departed at 4:45 p.m. and arrived at PPGH at 4:58 p.m. At 5:03, the attending physician pronounced Hamm deceased.
The SAIT report findings note that:
• Hamm was not severely dehydrated and his electrolytes were within the normal range.
• There were issues with communication, namely the designated division “point of contact” did not have direct communication with accident scene personnel.
• Cell phones were used to coordinate medical response per Incident Action Plan, resulting in others not being able to monitor critical communications.
• The Global Positioning System coordinates for key locations were not identified in the Incident Medical Plan (ICS-206) on the Incident Action Plan for the 337 fire.
• The IAPs for the 337 fire for July 6 through July 8, 2011, and IAP Safety Analysis (ICS-215A) did not contain specific reference to extreme temperatures or hydration nor was it included in the IAP Safety Message.
• Bonneville IHC was well prepared for a medical emergency with EMTs, backboard, trauma kit, and oxygen.
By Libby Cluett | firstname.lastname@example.org
- News Toppers
MWPD respond to icy accident
The Mineral Wells Police Department dealt with multiple accidents over the icy, winter weekend, but one not only stood out from the rest, it ended in an arrest.Continued ...
County approves funds for new Brazos River bridges
PALO PINTO – In a regular meeting of the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court, rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon because of the ice that blanketed much of North Texas over the weekend, commissioners approved multiple line items that will have an impact on the county.Continued ...
Perrin-Whitt, Millsap ISDs closed Wednesday: Graford, Garner, Millsap, Santo ISDs will delay start
Due to hazardous roads still icy in some areas, Perrin-Whitt and Millsap ISDs will be closed Wednesday while other school districts will report late the same day.Continued ...
CAC of Palo Pinto County names Executive Director
Everybody seems to know Libby Cluett.Continued ...
- MWPD respond to icy accident
- Local News
City Historical Marker preserves local history
Mineral Wells has offered a way to preserve local historical buildings, people or things that might not otherwise get noted by Texas Historical Commission.
Local dancers to spread Christmas cheer at Powell Christmas
According to Will Ferrell’s character “Buddy” in the beloved Christmas movie “Elf,” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
‘Shop Local and Win!’ on pace for another successful season
In a time when mega-stores and national franchises reign supreme, the Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce actively encourages residents to shop locally, thereby bolstering the Mineral Wells economy and keeping money in the city.
Merchants Christmas Parade, Rhonda’s Food Roundup postponed due to icy conditions
Today and Saturday’s “Rhonda’s Round Up Food Drive” and Saturday’s annual “Mineral Wells Merchants Community Christmas Parade” have been postponed due to deteriorating weather conditions.
- City Historical Marker preserves local history
- Local Sports
Lady Rams defeat Graham in OT, 55-52
Pam Hopkins hit a go-ahead jumper from the lane and Natalie Ragland sank a crucial late free throw as the pair helped the Mineral Wells Lady Rams to a 55-52 victory in overtime over the Graham Lady Blues Tuesday night in Graham.
Strawn places 11 on District 12 football team
The district champion and state quarterfinalist Strawn Greyhounds placed 11 players on the All-District 12 six man Division II football team and had two players earn superlative awards in a vote of league coaches.
HHCC hires former MWHS grad as new head pro
Tee Jay Burge, former MWHS golfer has been hired to oversee the golf operations at Holiday Hills Country Club.
MWISD schools Join Millions in Teaching Computer Science
MWISD schools Join Millions in Teaching Computer Science for the First Time!
- Lady Rams defeat Graham in OT, 55-52
- Travis Elementary School releases A and B honor rolls for second six weeks
Lamar Elementary students collect box tops for BTE education program
Lamar Elementary is collecting Box Tops for Education! Since 1996, the BTE program has helped schools across America earn cash for the things they need.
The students and faculty at Mineral Wells High School just concluded a canned food drive sponsored by the Student Council.
MWISD scores near perfect FIRST
Sporting Ram-pride red T-shirts at Tuesday’s Mineral Wells ISD school board meeting, the Travis News Team led the pledges to the American and Texas flags, followed by an apparently precocious presentation on their roles as TNT members.
- Online Only
BBQ My Way: Arguments aside, there's just one authentic recipe for wings
Passionate chefs love to argue about how to make authentic chicken wings. Dave Lobek settles the debate.
VIDEO: Man discovers secret dungeon under apartment
The day after moving into a new apartment, a man discovers that he is living above what is likely to be a 19th century dungeon.
Accused kitten killer faces 22 animal cruelty charges
Police say Ronald Fraser Golden kept a "cat room" in his house where he threw kittens onto the floor, stomped them and wrung their necks.
- BBQ My Way: Arguments aside, there's just one authentic recipe for wings
‘Come follow me!’
The Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club met for its regular meeting on Nov. 13 at the Black Horse Restaurant.
‘May the work that I’ve done speak
Mt. Hermon First Baptist Church is featuring its day-long Annual Men’s and Women’s Day program on Sunday, which carries the theme, “May the work that I’ve done speak for me.”
Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club reports
The Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club, continuing with its 78th year of study, met in the home of Mrs. Nikki Murphy and Mrs. Elaine Summers was the lesson leader for the 19th Chapter of the Gospel of John.
- ‘Come follow me!’