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Firefighters control Buck Fire and investigate death of inmate fighting fire

Fire burned 2,700 acres

SAGE, Calif. - Fire commanders expect to declare full control Monday of the seven-day-old 2,700-acre Buck fire as officials investigate the death of an inmate who had been serving as a firefighter.

A 2,700-acre wildfire near Sage that sent smoke over the Coachella valley last week was fully contained Friday morning as of 6 a.m.

A Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp inmate died at Desert Regional Hospital Sunday, and his death is under investigation by Cal Fire and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The inmate, 44-year- old Jimmy Randolph, had been on firefighting duties."Prior to becoming ill on Saturday morning ..., Randolph had been assigned to the Buck fire in Hemet," according to a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statement. He died with his family at his bedside.

Randolph was serving an 8-year sentence for petty theft with priors and was scheduled for parole this October, according to the statement. Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp, located in the Angeles National Forest  in northeastern Los Angeles County, houses fewer than 150 minimum security inmates. Operated jointly by Cal Fire and the Department of Corrections, its "primary mission is to provide inmate fire crews to Cal Fire for fire suppression, pre-fire and hazardous fuel reduction projects in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino Counties," the Department of Corrections statement said.

The lightning-sparked Buck Fire injured six people, damaged or destroyed four buildings and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes. 

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