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Inmate Firefighter on Buck Fire Dies

Jimmy Randolph, 44, became ill Saturday Aug. 18 and died Sunday Aug. 19 at Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs, according to the California Department of Corrections.

An inmate firefighter who worked on the 2,600-acre Buck Fire south of Hemet became ill Saturday and died Sunday at a Palm Springs hospital, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Jimmy Randolph, 44, was from Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp, off Highway 2 in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, Lt. L. A. von Savoye of the Corrections Department said in a statement.

"California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and CAL FIRE officials are investigating the illness and subsequent death of a conservation camp inmate," Savoye said.

"Prior to becoming ill on Saturday morning, August 18, 2012, Randolph had been assigned to the Buck Fire in Hemet, California," Savoye said.

Randolph's family was at his bedside when he died about 12:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs, Savoye said.

"The announcement of an official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy," Savoye said.

Randolph entered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on July 20, 2005, from Los Angeles County to serve an 8 year sentence for petty theft with priors, Savoye said. He was scheduled to parole in October 2012.

Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp's primary mission is to provide inmate fire crews to CAL FIRE for fire suppression, pre-fire and hazardous fuel reduction projects in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino Counties, Savoye said.

, which started Aug. 14, destroyed four structures, injured six people - five minor, one critical - and burned more than 2,600 acres near Aguanga, east of Temecula, according to Cal Fire.

A joined a strike team on the Buck Fire early Aug. 15.

The fire was declared controlled at 8 a.m. Monday Aug. 20. The cause of the fire was lightning.

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