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Corrections officer dies at wildfire fought by prison crew

A corrections officer working with an inmate hotshot crew died Oct. 1, shortly after the crew began working to contain a fire near Lake Havasu City, according the Arizona Department of Corrections.

The officer, Douglas Falconer, 46, apparently died of natural causes, the agency said in a statement released Oct. 2. No more details were available.

"Officers and inmates alike responded immediately, and emergency medical assistance made every effort to revive Officer Falconer," according to the statement.

Falconer was assigned to the Arizona State Prison Phoenix-Globe inmate wildland fire crew. The crew is stationed at the prison in Globe. Falconer become a state corrections officer in 2004, working with the hotshot crew since July 2007.

On the field, two corrections officers and a sergeant team up to oversee each of the prison system's 15 hotshot crews. The Globe crew was working on a fire line to contain the Sacramento Fire near the California border at the time of Falconer's death.

The crew had responded to seven previous wildfires in the past two seasons, DOC officials said.

Falconer is survived by his wife. Flags at state facilities will be lowered to half-staff the day of Falconer's funeral services, which have not yet been arranged.

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