Bozeman Man Killed in Helicopter Crash Fighting Fire
Tom Duffy, a Bozeman resident, was killed Monday in a helicopter crash while fighting the White River Fire in Oregon. When the crash occurred, he was dropping buckets of water on the wildfire burning in rough terrain in the Mount Hood National Forest.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, forest service air, and ground resources responded immediately to the crash site. There were no other individuals involved in the crash according to a press release from the US Forest Service.
The former Montana State University basketball player and a lay leader for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Montana worked for a private company contracted through the U.S. Forest Service out of Bozeman. Tom Duffy, 40, flew a Type 1 K-Max helicopter and is survived by his wife, Robyn, and their three children according to a statement from GleanerNow.
As of Tuesday afternoon the White River Fire is 1,289 acres and at 15% containment. With 354 personnel engaged in the firefighting efforts. Glenn Casamassa, Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service, stated:
We lost a member of our firefighting family in a tragic helicopter crash. We convey our deepest sympathy to the family, incident management team, firefighters, friends, and emergency responders involved. The courage to selflessly protect lives and property are respected and admired. Their ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten. Firefighting is dangerous work and risk is well known to those who fight the flames. We honor, we remember, we support the families and their loved ones. We affirm that we are a community and that the family is part of the firefighting family as well.
U.S. Senator Steve Daines issued the following statement on Tuesday after hearing the news:
"I am saddened to hear about the passing of Bozeman’s very own Tom Duffy. Tom Duffy tragically passed fighting the fires at Mt. Hood National Forest in service of the people of Oregon. Cindy and I offer our prayers to Tom’s family and loved ones."
Gardiner Fire Aftermath Pictures
Here are some amazing pictures taken of the aftermath by Sandra Nykerk.