College Student Fighting Fires in Southern Oregon Killed in Truck Accident

By Amelia Templeton

A firefighter has died in a truck accident on a one-lane mountain road in Southern Oregon. Jesse A. Trader was 19 years old. He was working for a company that was contracted to fight the Big Windy Complex of Fires south of the Rogue River.

Trader’s mother, Gigi Trader says he was a responsible kid who dreamed of firefighting.

Gigi Trader: “He was about the best kid anybody could ever have. Great student, just finished his first year of college.”

Trader says her son was recruited to play baseball at Western Oregon University. But he had decided to stop playing and focus instead on fighting fires. He was accepted into a firefighting program at Chemeketa community college in Salem.

The Big Windy Fires have burned more than 10,000 acres on the south bank of the Rogue River and have not been contained. According to a press release, Trader was driving a water transport truck at 7:20 in the morning. The truck hit an embankment and rolled over. An ambulance and life flight were called to the scene but were unable to save Trader’s life.

Trader is the 72nd firefighter to die this year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

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