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Thursday memorial will honor fallen firefighter from Medford

Locals will have a chance to pay their final respects to a Medford man who was killed while fighting a wildfire in Lane County.

The life of 56-year-old Frumencio “Mencio” Ruiz-Carapia will be honored at noon Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Olsrud Arena of the Jackson County Expo, 1 Peninger Road in Central Point.

On Aug. 23, Ruiz-Carapia was working the Gales fire burning southeast of Eugene — part of the Middle Fork Complex burning in the Willamette National Forest — when he was killed by a falling tree.

Ruiz-Carapia worked as a squad boss leading a crew for the Medford-based GE Forestry, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release.

In the release, GE Forestry owner Estoban Gonzalez expressed gratitude for the calls and well-wishes from the firefighting community since Ruiz-Carapia’s death.

“It has meant a lot to me, to all our firefighters and to the family,” Gonzalez stated. “My thanks go out to everyone who has been involved in making sure Frumencio is honored tomorrow for his service.”

Gov. Kate Brown ordered flags to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Thursday in honor of Ruiz Carapia.

"Wildland firefighting is often difficult and dangerous work that requires those who do it to leave those they love and cherish to protect people they may never meet,“ Brown said in a statement. ”We honor the memory of Mr. Ruiz-Carapia and will remember his sacrifice.“

Following the ceremony arranged by the National Wildfire Suppression Association, Ruiz-Carapia’s body will be sent to Querétaro, Mexico, where his mother and brothers live, according to the governor’s office.

Seating will be limited because of social distancing protocols intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Those wishing to send flowers to the memorial can send them to Jackson County Expo, Ruiz-Carapia Memorial, 7 Feathers Event Center, Door #1, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point, OR 97502.

As of Thursday, a GoFundMe page arranged by a neighbor to help Ruiz-Carapia’s family had raised more than $19,000. See gofundme.com/f/supporting-the-family-of-fallen-wild-firefighter