Christopher Douglas, 41, the Cal Fire engineer/paramedic who was killed on Friday, was a member of Cal Fire Engine Company 35, based at the Roy Wilson Station in Thousand Palms.
Douglas was sideswiped by a motorist on the Monterey Avenue on-ramp to eastbound Interstate 10 in Thousand Palms about 9:40 a.m. Investigators are trying to determine why Douglas pulled the fire engine over to the shoulder of the on-ramp and stepped out of the cab while en route to a rollover accident on I-10 near Washington Street in Palm Desert.
Late in the afternoon, after Cal Fire announced Douglas had died from his injuries at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, a procession of Cal Fire and other public safety vehicles escorted his body from the hospital to the Riverside County Coroner's office in Perris. Right after the procession headed up Indian Canyon toward Interstate 10, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson talked about how the firefighting community is dealing with the sudden death of a fellow firefighter.
"People are very broken up. Obviously we are a family, you live together, you live with people in the fire station 72 hours at a time. You have this great relationship; that is very hard to know that one of us isn't going home today." said Hutchinson.