Firefighter dies in falling accident near Launch Fire at Fourmile Lake

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, July 30 2014 at 5:24 PM, Updated: Wed, July 30 2014 at 7:42 PM

Klamath County, Ore. -- There's sad news tonight to report from the fire lines, as Southern Oregon's 2014 fire season claims a life.

Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah said around 6:30 to 7 Tuesday night, 21-year-old Matthew David Goodnature from Phoenix, stepped on a rock, slipped, and fell on a downed tree.

The lower part of his back hit. Authorities said it appears he broke his back and died. It happened while Goodnature was on a break from fighting the Launch Fire near Fourmile Lake in Klamath County.

One detective said there's no evidence to suggest it was anything other than an accident.

"It does not appear at this time that there is any criminal action taking place, but that's preliminary because we haven't discovered anything of that nature," said Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff's Office.

The entire fire fighting community, friends and family are mourning the young firefighter.

Matthew's mom, Judy Goodnature said this was his second season as a wildland firefighter. She said he loved his job, his crew and liked doing something important with his life.

Matthew Goodnature graduated from Phoenix High School in 2011 and had recently moved from Portland back to Medford.

On Wednesday afternoon the Forest Service put out a statement saying:

"The Forest [Service] and the entire wildland fire community are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our firefighters. Our hearts go out to their family, friends and co-workers,” said Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

Goodnature's mom also said her son was always extremely loving and never hung up the phone without saying 'I love you.'
 

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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