News Releases

Inmate Fire Fighter Suffers Fatal Cardiac Arrest

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today identified an inmate firefighter who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest yesterday during a training exercise.  CDCR delayed the announcement until the inmate’s family could be notified.

Raymond Araujo, 37, suffered a full cardiac arrest during the exercise in the Hathaway Canyon on the Morongo Indian Reservation, northeast of Banning, in Riverside County.  After being airlifted by helicopter to a base camp, Araujo died at the scene despite efforts by CAL FIRE and Riverside County Fire Department medics to resuscitate him.

Araujo was one of 43 Riverside County jail inmates who have volunteered to work beside 3,900 CDCR inmates on wild land fire crews, under a contract between CDCR and the county.  The inmate firefighters are housed in 43 Conservation Camps operated by CDCR with CAL FIRE and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“The inmates who volunteer to protect our communities from the devastation of fires perform a valuable public service and it is a sad event when we lose one of them.” said CDCR Undersecretary Scott Kernan. 

The offices of the Riverside County Sheriff and Coroner are investigating the incident and will be responsible for formally declaring the cause of death.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       
April 14, 2015

Contact:  Bill Sessa
(916) 445-4950