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ACR-162 CDF Firefighter John D. Guthrie Memorial Highway.(2013-2014)

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Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 162

Relative to the CDF Firefighter John D. Guthrie Memorial Highway.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  September 09, 2014. ]


ACR 162, Medina. CDF Firefighter John D. Guthrie Memorial Highway.
This measure would designate a specified portion of State Highway Route 215 as the “CDF Firefighter John D. Guthrie Memorial Highway.”
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, As a young man growing up in Perris, California, John Guthrie often volunteered to help the older men fight fires in the rural community and always wanted to be a firefighter; and
WHEREAS, After two years of service in the Navy, Guthrie returned home and signed on with the United States Forest Service as a firefighter, and, in 1954, was stationed at the El Cariso fire station; and
WHEREAS, In 1955, Guthrie was hired by the California Division of Forestry and began working at the Lake Elsinore Station; and
WHEREAS, On August 8, 1959, two teenagers driving down the curvy highway toward Lake Elsinore lost control of their truck and it flew off of the roadway and down a 200-foot embankment, sparking an inferno that became known as the Decker Canyon Fire; and
WHEREAS, More than 500 California Division of Forestry, United States Forest Service, local, and volunteer firefighters were called to fight the Decker Canyon Fire, which swept out of the hills and forced the evacuation of Lakeland Village; and
WHEREAS, Guthrie was a firetruck driver working at the fire station on Old Town Temecula, and when the call went out Guthrie and his crew headed north toward the billowing smoke; and
WHEREAS, Guthrie and his crew were sent off of the main road about a mile east of El Cariso Village into a canyon to start setting backfires and the shifting winds soon pushed a wall of flame back up the canyon toward their truck; and
WHEREAS, With the flames advancing on them, Guthrie ordered the other firefighters back to the truck for protection, thus saving their lives, despite the fact that there was not room in the truck for him; and
WHEREAS, Guthrie attempted to use a firehose to wet himself down for protection, but the firehose was burned beyond use; and
WHEREAS, Twenty-seven other firefighters were injured fighting the 1,700-acre blaze, some losing ears, fingers, and noses; and
WHEREAS, Guthrie, with over 85 percent of his body burned, began walking out of the canyon before others came to his aid and an ambulance arrived to take him to the closest hospital, which was located in Hemet; and
WHEREAS, Guthrie finally succumbed to his injuries at Redland’s hospital on September 14, 1959; and
WHEREAS, Guthrie left behind his wife Carlo and a young son and daughter; and
WHEREAS, It is vital that the sacrifice by John Guthrie and the other firefighters who were killed in the Decker Canyon Fire in order to protect the citizens of California be remembered; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby dedicates that portion of State Highway Route 215 between the Ramona Expressway Exit, at postmile 31.08, and its junction with State Route 74, at postmile 26.31, in honor of John D. Guthrie by officially designating that route as the CDF Firefighter John D. Guthrie Memorial Highway; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.