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Victims of fatal accident on Hwy 1 identified as 4 BC Wildfire Service subcontractors

Four BC Wildfire Service subcontractors were the victims of a fatal accident that closed Highway 1 west of Kamloops for several hours on Tuesday.

At about 2 am, emergency crews responded to a two-vehicle collision one kilometre west of Juniper Beach Provincial Park.

The provincial park is located between Cache Creek and Kamloops.

When crews arrived on scene, a semi-tractor trailer had caught on fire.

A release says the driver was able to escape before the truck was fully engulfed in flames.

Tragically, all four occupants of the second vehicle, a Ford F-350 pickup truck, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The release says the four subcontractors were traveling home after helping with fire suppression efforts.

The RCMP say that the pickup truck had failed to navigate a bend in the road, crossed the centre line and collided with the semi-truck head on.

“This year has been particularly challenging for the BC Wildfire Service, with several of its members facing injuries or losing their lives,” says a spokesperson for the BC RCMP.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those who help keep our province safe."

This year, the BC Wildfire Service lost two firefighters.

In mid-July, 19-year-old Devyn Gale died while fighting fires near Revelstoke.

At the end of July, Zack Muise, 25, died while fighting the Donnie Creek wildfire in northeastern BC.

An investigation into the fatal accident on Sept. 19 is ongoing with help from the BC Coroners Service.

Premier David Eby and Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, issued a joint statement Wednesday afternoon.

The statement says the four firefighters were driving home after helping with fires near Vanderhoof.

"Our hearts are broken by news of the death of four wildfire fighters who were travelling home after a tour of duty and were in a motor vehicle accident near Cache Creek. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues grieving the loss of these brave individuals,” the statement says.

"This is devastating news in what has been an immensely difficult wildfire season. We stand with wildfire fighters and all BC Wildfire Service personnel as they mourn the death of colleagues and co-workers yet again.”

Thumbnail photo credit: 123rf

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