Hyperthermia Caused Firefighter’s Death, Autopsy Report Concludes

A final autopsy report concluded that the cause of death for a 23-year-old firefighter last month was “hyperthermia,” or the uncontrolled overheating of the body.

Caleb Hamm died on July 7 while fighting the CR 337 fire near Mineral Wells, Texas. He was a member of the Utah-based Bonneville Interagency Hotshot crew.

The Dallas (Texas) Office of the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report concluded, “Based on the case history and autopsy findings, it is our opinion that Caleb Nathanael Hamm … died as a result of hyperthermia.” The report was signed by three physicians.

Hamm’s death is being reviewed by an interagency Serious Accident Investigation Team. Such reviews are standard practice when firefighters are seriously injured or die in the line of duty. The team’s purpose is to gather factual information and make recommendations that will help prevent future injuries or illnesses to wildland firefighters.

The team’s final report should be completed sometime in September.

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