Fire­fighter killed in ve­hi­cle crash in Merced County

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY SHAWN JANSEN [email protected]­ced­sun­star.com

A Cal Fire fire­fighter died Satur­day in a car crash in Merced County, the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol con­firmed.

Cal Fire of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied the fire­fighter as Capt. Stacy Hamil­ton, who worked out of Tuolumne County.

“With deep sad­ness, we an­nounce the pass­ing of Fire Cap­tain Stacy Hamil­ton,” of­fi­cials said in the so­cial me­dia post. “Cap­tain Hamil­ton was killed in a ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent in Merced County. Please join us in keep­ing Stacy’s loved ones and fel­low per­son­nel in @CALFIRETCU in our thoughts as we all mourn this tragic loss.”

CHP Of­fi­cer Eric Zu­niga said Hamil­ton was trav­el­ing alone in a 2004 Subaru Out­back when the car left the road­way and over­turned at least once on Snelling Road, near La Paloma Raod, in a remote area be­tween Merced and the com­mu­nity of Snelling.

The crash was re­ported to the CHP at 2:20 a.m.

Hamil­ton, a 49-year-old Fresno County res­i­dent, was wear­ing a seat belt. He was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

Zu­niga said nei­ther drugs nor al­co­hol are be­lieved to have been in­volved in the crash.

It wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear where Hamil­ton was head­ing or where he was com­ing from, Zu­niga said, but in­ves­ti­ga­tors said he ap­peared to be in his per­sonal ve­hi­cle and on per­sonal time.

“It’s still very early in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and they’re work­ing to get more in­for­ma­tion,” Zu­niga told the Sun-Star.

He is sur­vived by his wife, Katie, and two teenage sons, Ian and Lo­gan.

Gov. Gavin New­som an­nounced the flags in the Capi­tol would fly at half­staff in honor of Hamil­ton.

“On behalf of all Cal­i­for­ni­ans, Jennifer and I ex­tend our con­do­lences to Cap­tain Stacy Hamil­ton’s fam­ily, friends and col­leagues in this dif­fi­cult time,” New­som said. “It’s the work of brave fire­fight­ers like Stacy that keeps our com­mu­ni­ties safe and we are deeply grate­ful for his ser­vice.

Ac­cord­ing to a Cal Fire Face­book post, Hamil­ton joined the Tuolum­neCalav­eras Unit in 2006 and was as­signed to the Sierra Train­ing Cen­ter, Forestry Train­ing Pro­gram. He trained inmates for four years un­til he was trans­ferred to the Columbia Heli­tack Pro­gram and be­gan his devo­tion to the Cal Fire Avi­a­tion Pro­gram.

In 2013, Hamil­ton moved into the fixed-wing side and was as­signed to the Columbia Air At­tack Base, near the Sierra Ne­vada foothills in Tuolomne County.

He was de­scribed as “an ex­tremely tal­ented” su­per­vi­sor and “a great friend, men­tor and per­son.”

Be­fore join­ing Cal Fire, Hamil­ton worked for the United States For­est Ser­vice.

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