At 12:30 Wednesday, October 29, 2003, a Novato Fire District crew operating engine 6162 on the Cedar fire in San Diego County near Wynola, north of Julian, was overrun by fire.
This event resulted in the death of Engineer Steven Rucker, 38 years old who is an 11 year veteran of Novato Fire. Steve has a wife and 2 children. A trust fund has been set up for the Rucker family. The fund is The Steven Rucker Fund, at the Bank of Marin. For more information regarding donations, please call the Bank of Marin at (415) 899-7338.
Fire Captain Doug McDonald, 48 years old and a 17 year veteran with the District, received burns over 18% of his body. He is currently being treated at a San Diego Burn Facility. He is in critical condition, and is expected to recover. Captain McDonald has a wife and 2 children. A trust fund has been set up for the McDonald family. The fund is The Doug McDonald Fund, at the Bank of Marin. For more information regarding donations, please call the Bank of Marin at (415) 899-7338.
Engineer Shawn Kreps, 35 years old, is a 7 year veteran with the District. He received minor injuries, was treated and released. He has a wife and 2 children.
Firefighter/Paramedic Barrett Smith is 28 years old and has been with the District for 1 year. He also received minor burns, was treated and released.
The Novato Fire District made arrangements for District representatives and the wife of Captain McDonald to fly to San Diego.
In consideration of the families of the affected crew, the District requests that the media refrain from contacting them.
This tragic incident is difficult for all members of the Novato Fire District and their families. Grief counseling is planned Thursday for all employees and their family members.
The Novato Fire District has received calls of support from California Fire Agencies, both at the state and local level.
The District has 2 other crews assigned to the Southern California fires. Those crews have been recalled and are returning to Novato.
The Novato Fire District is involved in the incident investigation. Fire Chief Jeff Meston and Board President Brad Beedle arrived in San Diego Wednesday evening.
As more information is received from the incident commander in San Diego, it will be made available.
Further details are planned for release at 7 a.m. on Thursday October 30, at Novato station #1 at 7025 Redwood Boulevard. Novato, California.
ArtAID created this personalized Firefighters Angel in remembrance of Steve Rucker. A banner of this amazing tribute was signed by hundreds of firefighters of the FDNY in solidarity with their fallen brother. This will be sent to Engine 6162 in Novato, California to hang in his firehouse and additional prints provided to his immediate family and friends. You may download a printable version of this artwork HERE.
FDNY firefighter signs banner for his fallen brother.
Deadly California Fires
|Firefighters battle deadly blazes that claimed at least 20 lives, including one firefigher, Stever Rucker, who gave his live while doing what he loved helping others.
Donations, aid for fire victims
Donate to help victims of the Southern California fires.
Some organizations with fire relief funds:
Los Angeles Times Family Fund/KTLA-5 Charities Fire Relief Campaign
For every dollar donated up to $1 million, the McCormick Tribune Foundation will donate an additional 50 cents. Donations and matching funds go directly to organizations, such as the Red Cross and other agencies, providing disaster relief to fire victims.
The California Community Foundation
445 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 3400
Los Angeles, CA 90071
The foundation will collect money to aid in the rebuilding and recovery efforts in Southern California and will match donations dollar for dollar up to $100,000.
FOODShare of Ventura County
4156 N. Southbank St.
Oxnard, CA 93030
Needs food donations and seeks volunteers to help prepare food for evacuees.
Catholic Charities of Los Angeles
Fire Disaster Aid
P.O. Box 15095
Los Angeles, CA 90015-0093
Salvation Army California Wildfires
900 W. James M. Wood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
For in-kind donations, call 800-95TRUCK or
3880 Lemon St.
Riverside, CA 92501
Accepting monetary donations for victims in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Fire Relief Fund Society of St. Vincent de Paul
210 N. Avenue 21
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 226-1762 or (323) 855-0320
Seeking monetary and in-kind donations.