A Temecula-based firefighter/paramedic with Cal Fire died Friday when he was struck by a vehicle along Interstate 10 in Riverside County.
Engineer Christopher Douglas, 41, was struck by a pickup truck as he responded to a traffic collision Friday morning, officials said. He and his crew had stopped on the side of I-10 to change gear and equipment.
Emergency crews transported Douglas to nearby Desert Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The eight-year veteran of Cal Fire has family in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Denver and Colorado Springs. Douglas enjoyed surfing on the beaches of Carlsbad and had many friends in San Diego.
Local Cal Fire officials Nick Schuler told NBC 7 he’s known Douglas for years and used to work with him in Valley Center.
Schuler said his friend will be truly missed both personally and professionally.
"His loss is not only a loss to his family, but a loss to the firefighting community in San Diego and Riverside County,” Schuler said on Saturday.
“Chris was the type of guy that everybody wanted to work with. He always brought a smile and laughs around the fire station. In emergency services, police and firefighters, we rely on each other and when you have somebody you really enjoy working with, this is an unfortunate reminder of the dangers within our job,” Schuler added.
Gov. Jerry Brown offered his condolences in a written statement: “Anne and I were saddened to learn of the death of Engineer Christopher Douglas. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fellow state firefighters.”
The incident will be investigated by the California Highway Patrol Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT), according to Cal Fire officials.
Douglas is survived by his wife, Amy, and 2-year-old son, Samuel "Sammy." Douglas is also survived his siblings, Martin Douglas and family of Colorado Springs, Heather Douglas of Denver, mother, Rose Porter of Colorado Springs, and his in-laws, Ronald and Sheryl Aitken of Newport Beach, and sister in law Jessica Carroll & her family of Costa Mesa, and sister in law Veronica Herrington and family from Newport Beach, according to the agency.
Cards can be sent to the family in care of:
CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department
c/o Douglas Family
210 W. San Jacinto Ave
Perris CA, 92570
On Saturday morning, flags at fire stations across Southern California flew at half-staff in memory of the fallen firefighter.