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Firefighter killed in Thomas fire died from burns and smoke inhalation, autopsy shows

Firefighter killed in Thomas fire died from burns and smoke inhalation, autopsy shows
Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson with his wife, Ashley, and daughter, 2-year-old Evie Iverson. (Family photo)

Cory Iverson, the firefighter who was killed while battling the Thomas fire, died of burns and smoke inhalation, the Ventura County medical examiner's office said Saturday.

Iverson, 32, was assigned to the blaze as a part of a strike team from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's San Diego unit. The five-engine team was facing down flames just outside Fillmore when Iverson, a fire apparatus engineer who had worked for Cal Fire since 2009, was killed on Thursday.

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Iverson is survived by his wife, Ashley, and their 2-year-old daughter, with a second daughter on the way this spring.

He was "the kind of firefighter you could rely on" and "the best fireman you could hope to have on your team," said Jon Heggie, a Cal Fire spokesman who knew Iverson well.

An accident review team is investigating Iverson's death.

On Thursday afternoon, firefighters lined the roads in tribute as Iverson's body was taken to the medical examiner's office, where an autopsy was performed on Friday.

A funeral procession and service has been scheduled for Dec. 23. The funeral procession will travel through the counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego, according to Cal Fire officials.

The funeral service has been scheduled to take place at the Rock Church in Point Loma, officials said.

The Thomas fire, which started on Dec. 4 and had scorched 267,500 acres as of Saturday, is now the third largest in recorded California history. It has killed two people, destroyed more than 1,000 structures and damaged hundreds more.

As winds gusted up to 65 mph, new evacuation orders were issued Saturday morning for the Montecito and Summerland areas, where hundreds of homes were threatened. Freeway off-ramps to Montecito were closed, and residents were seen piling into their vehicles and leaving town.

So-called sundowner winds are pushing south from the mountains to the coast and are expected to present firefighters in Santa Barbara County with their biggest challenge since the Thomas fire roared back to life a week ago, officials said.

For more news on the Los Angeles Police Department, follow me on Twitter: @cindychangLA

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UPDATES:

5:15 p.m.: This article was updated with funeral service information.

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This article was originally published at 12:25 p.m.

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