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Inmate Firefighter, 22, Dies After Hit in Head Battling Malibu Brush Fire

Shawna Lynn Jones, who officials said had volunteered for the state’s prisoner firefighting program while behind bars for drug possession, was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center in critical condition Thursday. Photo via Facebook.
Shawna Lynn Jones, who officials said had volunteered for the state’s prisoner firefighting program while behind bars for drug possession, was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center in critical condition Thursday. Photo via Facebook.

An inmate firefighter struck in her head by a boulder while battling a brush fire in Malibu has died, a state corrections official said Friday.

Shawna Lynn Jones, 22, was injured early Thursday morning and airlifted to UCLA Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition with major head injuries, Bill Sessa of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Jones was removed from life support after her organs were donated, in keeping with her family’s wishes, Sessa said.

Jones was a Los Angeles County inmate who had joined the CDCR’s firefighting program in August and was assigned to the Malibu Camp, operated jointly with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Malibu is one of three camps that house a total of 195 females, he said.

Jones was the third inmate firefighter to die on a fire line since the program began in 1943.

The blaze started in the area of Mulholland Highway and Bardman Street at 2:56 a.m. Thursday and was doused at 6:29 p.m. Thursday, according to Humberto Agurcia of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The fire burned about 10 acres.

About 200 firefighters were sent to the scene, said county fire Dispatch Supervisor Rey Dong.

By about 6:30 a.m. Thursday, the fire was about 35 percent contained, and firefighters had stopped the flames from spreading further, said county fire inspector Randall Wright.

A short time afterward, Jones was injured by a boulder that fell about 100 feet from a hillside.

The fire was fought by fire crews from Los Angeles and Ventura counties and three water-dropping helicopters. Its cause remained under investigation, according to Ornelas.

The fire burned in heavy brush, working its way uphill in some spots, and authorities shut down Mulholland Highway in both directions near the fire area, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Residents of nearby homes were asked to evacuate, according to authorities. However, no mandatory evacuations were ordered, Dong said.

Two nearby camps were evacuated, including a self-evacuation at Camp Shalom involving 120 children.

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