Local

Inmate firefighter injured in Malibu fire has died

Firefighters responded to a brush fire was reported shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday off Mulholland Highway near Decker Canyon, not far from the Ventura County line. One inmate firefighter was struck by a falling boulder. She later succumbed to her injuries.
Firefighters responded to a brush fire was reported shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday off Mulholland Highway near Decker Canyon, not far from the Ventura County line. One inmate firefighter was struck by a falling boulder. She later succumbed to her injuries.
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The inmate firefighter who was injured during a brush fire in Malibu Thursday has died.

Shawna Lynn Jones, 22, had been struck by a boulder that rolled down a hill. She was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center Thursday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

"We do have many people in place ... that are in place to make sure that everyone is safe, that everyone is operating under the safest of conditions, but sometimes, even with all of these safety things in place, things can still happen," L.A. County Fire spokesperson Humberto Agurcia told KPCC.

Jones was removed from life support per her family's wishes after being listed in critical condition.

She was only the third inmate firefighter to die on a fire line since the program began in 1943, the CDCR said.

"Her death is a tragic reminder of the danger that inmate firefighters face when they volunteer to confront fires to save homes and lives," said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan in a statement Friday. "On behalf of all of us in the department, I send my deepest condolences to her family."

A Los Angeles County jail inmate, Jones had joined the CDCR's firefighting program in August and was assigned to the Malibu Camp, one of three camps that house a total of 195 female firefighters, according to the CDCR.

The department's inmate firefighters, who work locally in partnership the L.A. County Fire Department, cut containment lines to stop the spread of wildfires and douse hot spots during clean-up, the CDCR said. They don't perform any actual direct firefighting, Agurcia said.

"Firefighters are trained in the actual extinguishment of a fire, and hand crews are brought in to clear brush, debris, trees, etc., and make what we call 'fire stops,'" Agurcia said. "So we utilize the hand crews to come in and do that hand work — that's why it's called a hand crew."

When asked about whether this incident would lead to any changes, Agurcia said that the L.A. County Fire Department tries to learn from all situation ways to improve their safety procedures.

Women were first incorporated into the inmate firefighting program in 1983, according to the department.

This story has been updated.