Edmond Woman Wants Policies Changed After Nephew Died Fighting Fire

Monday, May 21st 2012, 10:31 pm
By: News 9

Steve Shaw, News 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- An Edmond woman doesn't want the death of her nephew in a West Texas wildfire to be for nothing.

Sheryl McLain's nephew was Caleb Hamm. Hamm was 23 years old last July when he died fighting a wildfire in West Texas. Hamm was part of an elite fire-fighting unit that was under the direction of the Federal Bureau of Land Management.

Sheryl McLain says her nephew died of heat exhaustion, and had a body temperature of 108 degrees after he collapsed. McLain says members of Hamm's crew were encouraged to ignore signs of heat symptoms.

"There was fear amongst the crew that if they did ask for breaks, they would be seen as weak. And they would hurt their chances in working the next fire season," McLain said.

Last week, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued recommendations to the Federal Bureau of Land Management. Sheryl McLain says she has little faith the Bureau of Land Management will change their policies.