“21-Year-Old Firefighter from Boulder, Colorado Killed in Coos County Crash”

A 21-year-old firefighter from Boulder, Colorado, was killed in a crash in Coos County, Oregon. Benjamin Charles Sapper had recently joined the Gold Beach Ranger District. The crash involved three U.S. Forest Service firefighters who were moving fire equipment. Sapper, who had a degree in applied mathematics, had plans to attend graduate school at the University of British Columbia. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Local firefighters are holding a vigil for Sapper, and the community is offering support to his family and fellow firefighters. Austin De Dios | The Oregonian/OregonLive reported

The young firefighter who tragically lost his life in a car accident in Coos County on Friday has been identified as Benjamin Charles Sapper, a 21-year-old from Boulder, Colorado. Sapper had recently joined the Gold Beach Ranger District as a member of their hand crew. According to Coquille Fire and Rescue, he was fatally injured when the pickup truck he was traveling in veered off the road near Powers, Oregon.

The incident occurred around 11:30 a.m., prompting a response from Coos County Sheriff’s deputies. Reports indicated that three U.S. Forest Service firefighters were involved in the crash. It is important to note that the firefighters were not actively engaged in firefighting duties at the time of the accident, as clarified by the sheriff’s office on Monday.

Sapper had a strong educational background, having graduated from Boulder High School and pursued applied mathematics at the University of Colorado. The U.S. Forest Service highlighted Sapper’s plans to commence graduate studies at the University of British Columbia in the upcoming fall semester. His decision to join the Forest Service was motivated by a deep desire to serve the community, as stated by the agency.

The local firefighting community has come together to honor and remember Sapper by holding a standing vigil until his remains can be transported to Colorado. Gold Beach District Ranger Kailey Guerrant expressed heartfelt condolences on behalf of the community, emphasizing their unity in the face of grief and their unwavering support for Sapper’s family, friends, and fellow firefighters.

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the accident, and the driver of the truck involved, whose identity has not been disclosed, is cooperating with law enforcement, according to the sheriff’s office.

Austin De Dios, adedios@oregonian.com, @austindedios, 503-319-9744, contributed to this report.

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