Cal Fire officials confirmed a firefighter assigned to battle the Carr Fire burning in Shasta County was killed in a traffic accident. Andrew Brake, 40, of Chico, died in a single-car crash in the early hours on Highway 99 in Tehama County when his Cal Fire support vehicle veered off the road at a curve, hit a tree and went up in flames.
Fire officials said Brake was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked as a Cal Fire heavy equipment mechanic from the Butte Unit. Cal Fire released a statement saying:
“It’s with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Heavy Equipment Mechanic Andrew Jason Brake. HEM Brake died this morning due to a single vehicle accident while assigned to the Carr Fire. Please keep Andrew’s loved ones & everyone in
@CALFIRE_ButteCo in your thoughts.”
A family member says Brake was killed after falling asleep at the wheel on his way to the fire lines near Redding. His mother, Teresa Brake of Chico, said he had been working almost nonstop fighting fires since May and was obviously tired at the time of the accident.
The Carr Fire had already claimed the lives of two firefighters and five other people, including a woman and her two great-grandchildren, and a PG&E lineman, who died trying to restore power to the area. Brake was a six-year veteran of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection working out of the Butte unit in Oroville.