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Massive Carr Fire Tornado Kills Local Firefighter and Hero

Massive Carr Fire Tornado Kills Local Firefighter and Hero

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 7:37 PM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 7:41 PM

REDDING, Calif - The Carr Fire has taken many things from the Shasta County community including homes, and a sense of safety.

But perhaps saddest of all is beloved Redding Fire Fighter Jeremy Stoke.

Stoke worked for the Redding Fire Department for more than a decade.
In that time he was known as a man who loved the San Francisco Giants, metal music, and would do anything to help someone else.

That bravery was lived out until his last day.

In a 20-page Cal Fire report obtained by Action News Now, investigators say on July 26th around 7:23 p.m. a large rotating plume of smoke began developing near Buenaventura Boulevard.

The swirling winds at the base of the plume dramatically increased fire intensity until it developed into a fire tornado.

“That weather event took place ... I mean it just exasperated. I mean like a snap of the fingers it took off that fast into West Redding." said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean

Just a little over 15 minutes later, Stoke was driving south on Buenaventura Boulevard.

Then a minute later he radioed a “mayday”.


Stoke called for help a second time.

This time he told crews he was in the middle of the road, he was being burned over and needed a water drop.

However, when crews tried to get his exact location the call went silent.

Jeremy died inside that fire tornado which reached winds speeds of 136-165 mph, and temperatures as high as 2,700 degrees.

He was trying to evacuate people.

“Educate the public and try to explain why we need to evacuate when the time is or they are given those evacuation orders,” said Mclean

Cal Fire officials Action News Now spoke with say this tragedy including the tragic loss of bulldozer operators Don Ray Smith have started a conversation on new safety procedures in light of the erratic behavior of this fire.

“In this team, whether it’s a firefighter, hand crew, dozer operator, aircraft it doesn’t matter its definitely ongoing items of discussion how are we going to provide for this safety how are we going to be able to fight this,” said McLean.

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Toasty temperatures are ahead for your Thursday, but some modest relief from the heat is on the way. Fire danger concerns are on the rise as the potential for thunderstorms returns in your Friday and Saturday forecast.
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