On November 1, 1966, in a canyon near the boundary of the Angeles National Forest, California, a flare-up on the Loop Fire overran the Forest Service’s El Cariso Interregional Fire Crew, burned to death 10 firefighters and inflicted critical to minor injuries on 12 others.
The helmet in the photo was found over 30 years after the fire by a L.A. County fire crew working in the area.
While the Oak Grove Hotshots were on the Loop Fire, the helmet in the photo is not a helmet warn by any Oak Grove fire crew. It is believed that the helmet was probably warn by a member of the Oak Grove work center engineering crew working on the soil stabilization, after the fire. Why it was burned or the history of the helmet may never be known.
About 1968, standing in front of the crew truck, but who is he? Help us out.
On Friday, October 28, 2016, retired San Gabriel Fire Department Captain Chris Cuzynski, was traveling to Reno for a retired Police Officer’s funeral. In his travels north along Hwy 395, before the City of Lone Pine, Chris appeared to have a cardiac related issue which caused his passing. This resulted in a solo vehicle accident.
Captain Chris Cuzynski served 38 years with the San Gabriel Fire Department. He also served 2 years as a Federal Fireman assigned to El Toro Marine base and 2 years in the U. S. Forest Service as an Oak Grove Hotshot, for a total of 42 years of service.
Chris is survived by:
Mother —- Betty Linker
Wife —- Susie Cuzynski
Son —- Joe Cuzynski – Los Angeles County Fireman
Daughter —- Carolynn “Cookie” Cuzynski — Orange County Deputy Sheriff
Crew of 1976 Standing left to right… Bob Hewitt… Mike Rohde… Mike Dunn…Gary Kruth… Unknown… Bob Serrato w. beard… Mark Sayles… John Hundson… ??? Ramsey… Bent over Steve Pock… Ron Shurney… Bottom row Steve Arney… Larry Rodriguez… Dennis Mitchell… John Wambaugh… Paul Hogan… Larry ‘nasty” Thomas… John Schmechel… Louie Mora
Help us with the names by contacting us using the post feature.
Starting on the far left, in the background is Chuck Grennell, standing next to Chuck is Steve McDougal, the next one (sitting on a rock with his head on his arm) is Cliff Penny, the next one, without the hard hat is Richard Boatwright, behind Boatwright (facing the opposite direction) is Raymond Leo Coker (we think), standing next to Coker is Don Allison, to the right of Allison (cut-off at the stomach) is Bob Conklin and lastly is Douglas Beck. They guy in the foreground, who is to the left of Beck, in this picture, (with his back turned to the camera) is Joe Gutierez. The guy behind Beck’s hardhat could be Bobby Harris.
Take a look at this video from the Rachel Maddow show. It has Oak Grove Hotshots in it.
Rod Duff, a member of the 1952 Oak Grove Hotshots, passed away on March 30 after a short illness. Rod lived a full life that included wildland firefighting for the USFS and CDF, working as a Disney Imagineer, owning an animation company, and serving as an interpretive ranger at Bodie State Park in retirement. He was an 19th century mining and railroading expert, a lifetime Land Rover enthusiast, a model railroader and a member of the Bodie Chapter of E Clampus Vitas. Rod considered his time as a hotshot one of the highlights of his life, and thoroughly enjoyed himself at the Oak Grove Hotshot reunion in 2012.
Services will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 6, at Joshua Memorial Park, 808 East Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, CA.
Condolences can be sent to Rod’s wife Cindy Kline at 7229 West Columbia Way, Quartz Hill, CA 93536.
Best thoughts and prayers for family and friends.
We are saddened to say that Bob Taber, a member of the 1960 crew has passed away. All crew members express our condolences to his wife Sue and his family.
1968 crew members L to R Steve Wark, Chuck Grennell and Ken McCool. Photo taken Dec. 2012.
1965 Oak Grove Hotshots from left standing: Foreman Jim Reveley, ??? fifth from left Gary Reynolds, ?, Greg, Jim ? ?, Sam Tsosie, Foreman Bill Hall, ? , Mike Fisher, ?, Terry Hines, ? ?
1965 Oak Grove Hotshots Jim Reveley, left (with back turned)
Bruce Hamp, Chilao 1961 ?
Party time at Monte Cristo: Gary Reynolds on floor, Terry Hines girlfriend Maria, John Finnerty with pillow.
1965 Oak Grove Hotshots L to R Terry Hines, unknown, Gary Reynolds.
1965 Oak Grove Hotshots: L to R Foreman Jim Reveley, Superintendent Marty Barrows, Foreman Bill Hall.
Foreman Jim Reveley planting trees at Monte Cristo.
Montey Cristo dedication 1967 ?
TTO Todd Heckert at Monte Cristo 1967
L to R Pat Felde, Larry Boggs, Tom Holden, John Alexander, Roger Gamst, unknown
Paul Hope and behind him is John Lovato
L to R Byron Crocker, Allan Fowler, Cirillio (first name), Donald Glauthier (on shoulders) Doug Dickson and Jim Linfoot.
Doug graduated from Humboldt State in Forest Management in 1965 and was a Lt. in the infantry in Nam, and was killed in a fire fight in 1967. He was a good friend.
L to R Roger Gamst, John Alexander and Don Lopez off loading from DC-3
L to R Roger Gamst, Don Allison, Dave Bohning, Larry Boggs and Don Lopez
L to R Roger Gamst, Dave Bohning and Tony Morton
Tom Holden, Calvin Tane, Ed Hook, Tom Zwoa, Johnny Lewis, Pete Roble, Bill Cummings, Brim, Roy Nendria, Jerry Harris, Roger Gamst, Lewis Blades, Daryll Normark, Ron Hammond, Ken Vistad, Sam Bennett, Mike Gross, Art Romero and Jim Funk
L to R Standing, Asst. Foreman Bruce Stevenson; Rex Johnson: Jim Linfoot; Jerry Rice: Donald Glauthier: Doug Dickson; Vincent Antone; Alan Fowler; …? Front row: Sam Bennet; Michael Yow; John Lavato and Byron Crocker
Back row from left
Tony Morton, Don Allison, Tom Holden, Dave Ohlson, Larry Humphrey, Dave Bohning, Mike Busch, Richard Reardon, Steve Wark, Wayne Crowder Front row kneeling: Don Bingham, Asst. Superintendent Larry Lang, Robert Murphy, Roger Gamst, Chris Paulson, Don Fritchman, Pat Burgess, Pat Felde, John Alexander, Foreman Donald Lopez and Superintendent Larry Boggs
Dillion Divide Fuelbreak 1960-68 L- R Bob Switzer, Ken David and Bob Hensley.
The following photo’s are submitted from Dick Willamson.
This is in 1959 on the Wiley Fire on Ontario Peak on the Mt. Baldy District. Our crew hiked in the night before and got to the fire about daybreak. It was a lightning strike, not much of a fire but got a lot of attention. They were looking for alternatives to Borate at the time and were experimenting with Bentonite and cargo drops from the Sikorsky S-55. The two guys in ball caps were researchers, probably from the Fire Lab. They had to hike out with us as the marine layer moved up that afternoon, preventing the helicopter from flying anymore. All the pictures are of the same fire that we, Oak Grove Hotshots, responded to the night before. If I remember right it wasn’t a complete crew, only those who were in still in camp when we got the call. In the group shot on the far right is Bob Ensminger, ADR on the Mt. Baldy District. Next to him is Palonio Romero, Helitack. All the rest are Oak Grove Hotshots.
Wiley Fire 1959 cargo drop
Wiley Fire 1959 S-55 cargo drop
Wiley Fire Bentonite Drop
Wiley Fire hiking out.
Wiley Fire Dick Williamson
Wiley Fire group shot
Wiley Fire long hike out.
Left – Ken McCool and Chuck Grennell