PORTLAND – The death of a 19-year-old water truck driver outside a rural Oregon wildfire came just months after he joined a community college firefighter training program and readied for his first fire season.
Jesse Trader had a baseball scholarship to Western Oregon University but chose to enroll at Chemeketa Community College for its fire protection program instead, his mother said Tuesday.
“This is what Jesse wanted to do with his life,” said Gigi Trader, of Albany, Ore.
Jesse Trader was killed when his water truck overturned on a rural road’s embankment early Tuesday morning outside the Big Windy complex of fires in southwest Oregon. Trader was taken from the scene by an air ambulance, but emergency responders were unable to revive him.
He was the sole occupant of the truck.
Gov. John Kitzhaber said in a prepared statement that Oregon owes Trader a debt.