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PG&E worker dies while helping with Northern California wildfire response

Firefighters battle flames along Lyon Road in Vacaville on Wednesday.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

A Pacific Gas & Electric Co. employee died while assisting crews responding to a massive Northern California wildfire, becoming the first confirmed death associated with the blaze, officials said Thursday.

The worker, who has not been identified, was found unresponsive in his vehicle Wednesday in the Gates Canyon area outside Vacaville, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Officials performed CPR before taking the worker to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The worker was clearing infrastructure — such as utility poles and lines — in the area to assist crews responding to the LNU Lightning Complex fire, according to Cal Fire.

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“Please keep the family and PG&E in your thoughts and prayers,” fire officials wrote in a statement Thursday.

Utility spokeswoman Brandi Merlo confirmed that “a Vacaville-based troubleman passed away while assisting first responders as they dealt with the LNU Complex fire.”

“Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we won’t be sharing additional details at this time,” she wrote in an email.

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The LNU Lightning Complex is a collection of fires that, collectively, have burned at least 131,000 acres in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo and Lake counties.

It is one of a number of large-scale fires statewide that crews are working to contain.

The firestorm has already charred more than 349,000 acres in Northern and Central California and forced thousands of residents to flee their homes.


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