Fire Fatalities, San Luis Unit

by SLU PreFire & GIS

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Edward Ordner

DOB: 5/8/1895, died: 9/17/46. Cause of death: crushed skull. Incident occurred in a rollover with a WWII era Mack fire truck, no seatbelts/windows rolled down. Near Los Berros Canyon.

Spanish Ranch

Edwin M Marty, 35, Fire Captain, from Nipomo

Scott W Cox, 25, firefighter, from Goleta, died Feb 3, 1980 from injuries

Ronald T Lorant, 23, Firefighter, from Long Beach

Steveen R Manley, 21, Firefighter, from Goleta

The 4 members of CDF Engine 5373 responded from Nipomo Station and arrived on the Spanish Ranch fire just prior to 1600 hrs. Engine 5373 was assigned to provide support for firing out. Around 1615 hrs the fire begins to pick up, and at 1625 hrs extreme fire behavior is observed and area ignition ocurrred. Ground crews were quickly entrapped; the lookout was able to escape, 2 Dozer operaters were trapped and survived (one with minor burns). Ed Marty, Ron Lorant and Steve Manley died in the fire, Scott Cox survived but died 202 days later; they did not have fire shelters.

Airco 53

Joe Holstine, 51, Contract pilot

Paul Belveal, 39, CDF Air Attack Officer

teenage passenger

Airco 53, a Cessna O-2 Pilot Joe Holstine, Air Attack Officer Paul Belveal and a teenage passenger were working a grass fire out in the Cariso Plains, in the east part of SLU when it crashed. Both aerial firefighters and their teenage passenger died.

Pelitor Fire

Gerald Bryant O'Reilly, Forestry Foreman. DOB: 3/8/21, age 29, died: 7/5/50 2:15pm. Cause of death: asphyxiation.

Turley E. McFarland, Fort Ord 4th Infantry Division soldier. DOB: 10/8/29 from Ohio.

Lawrence R. Morris, Fort Ord 4th Infantry Division soldier. DOB: 12/28/28 from Ohio.

John P. Smith, Fort Ord 4th Infantry Division soldier. DOB: 5/25/24 from Pennsylvania.

Thomas Gilbert Gregerson

DOB: 7/13/1903, age 28, died: 8/28/1931 3:00pm. Cause of death: shock resulting from third degree burns suffered while fighting fire.

On the afternoon of Friday the 28th, Gregerson was working the fire in a canyon at Devil's Gap; four miles west of Atascadero on the Atascadero/Morro Bay Road (Highway 41 West). The exact location of the accident, and Gregerson's assignment are not known. Gregerson was trapped in a circle of fire. State Fire Warden R. B. Cavanaugh was working in the vicinity and discovered Gregerson. His clothes were completely burned off and his body was totally burned.

Harry Gray rushed his ambulance to the scene and took Gregerson to the Atascadero Hospital where he died at 3:00pm that Friday. Just before his death, he regained consciousness for a few seconds and told the hospital staff that his parents lived in Winnebago, Minnesota.

Leo Loyd Boyd

Forestry Foreman. DOB: 12/27/17, age 41, died: 6/24/59. Cause of death: Anoxia caused by edema of respiratory trees and pulmonary edema. 2nd degree burns over 75% of body. Burned on 6/22/59 on a 900 acre grass fire off Geneseo Road, 1.5 miles north of the old Geneseo School.


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