Firefighter David Ruhl, 38, of Rapid City, South Dakota, died after being trapped in a wildfire in Alturas, California, while helping to fight the Frog Fire blaze, reported San Francisco CBS Local.
Since June of this year, the married father of two had volunteered to work in California for the Big Valley Ranger District of the Modoc National as an assistant fire management officer to “broaden his firefighting experience and improve his skills,” according to Ruhl’s co-worker, Scott Jacobson.
“He was just always eager to get out and about and work with people,” Jacobson stated.
As Ruhl was driving down a road on Modoc National Forest on Thursday, he came in close proximity of the wild fire and tried to “develop a plan of attack” on the small blaze, reported the Florida-Times Union.
— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) August 1, 2015
However, concerns quickly grew when the gusty winds caused the small fire to grow, trapping the firefighter inside of his vehicle. All communication was lost and it wasn’t until the following day when five percent of the wild fire was tamed that they discovered his lifeless body.
“You can imagine, that it’s a great sense of loss. Whenever you have a fellow firefighter go down there’s always a sense of loss. When you know his family, when you know him as a person,” said Craig Bobzien who was the forest supervisor at Black Hills National Forest. “He touched so many people in a positive way, people are obviously grieving over his loss. We are all grieving…words are just hard to describe that sense of loss.”
“Let me put it this way, Dave was passionate about his profession as a firefighter; he was proud to be a firefighter with the Black Hills National Forest Service.”
“He just represented the profession and the Black Hills Forest Service to the highest standard.”
Bobzien sad that “Dave was a highly respected firefighter, a quiet leader,” and “He was really passionate about his work, he was a great father, great husband, the kind of person you just respected as a human being.”
Prior to becoming a firefighter, Ruhl had served in the U.S Coast Guard and worked as a correctional officer in the state of South Dakota.
— KUTV 2News (@KUTV2News) August 1, 2015
An investigation was launched following the death of the firefighter to uncover what happened.
[Image via YouTube Screen Capture]