A 22-year-old female inmate firefighter died after being struck by a falling boulder while working a brush fire in Malibu, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Friday.
Shawna Lynn Jones died around 9 a.m. Friday after being injured the previous day when a boulder fell and struck her, officials said.
Homicide detectives were investigating the woman’s death, which occurred at Leo Carrillo State Park, at 35000 Pacific Coast Highway, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. The department had initially stated the accident was at Leo Cabrillo State Park.
Jones had sustained major head injuries and was airlifted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center where she was listed in critical condition.
The next day she was taken off life support and her organs were donated, keeping with her family’s wishes, the Corrections Department said.
“Her death is a tragic reminder of the danger that inmate firefighters face when they volunteer to confront fires to save homes and lives,” said Corrections Department Secretary Scott Kernan. “On behalf of all of us in the department, I send my deepest condolences to her family.”
Jones was a Los Angeles County inmate and joined the firefighting program in August 2015.
She was assigned to the Malibu Camp, which is jointly operated with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and is one of three that houses a total of 195 female firefighters.
Jones was the third inmate firefighter to die on the fire line since the program started in 1943, according to the department, which added that female inmates were incorporated in 1983.
About 3,500 inmate firefighters work to cut containment lines, stop the spread of wildfires and douse hot springs during cleanup, according to the Corrections Department.
The inmates are housed at the department’s 44 conservation camps, which are in partnership with Cal Fire. Five are jointly managed with the L.A. County Fire Department.
The Malibu fire, dubbed the Mulholland Fire, burned 10 acres and was fully contained by Thursday night.