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Incident Name: Nuns Fire
Date: 10/16/17, 0645
Personnel: Garrett Paiz, aka "Taco"
Age: 38
Agency/Organization: contract firefighter/driver for CAL FIRE; from Missouri, working for Tahema Transport a company supporting CAL FIRE
Position: Firefighter/Driver

Summary: Firefighter/Driver Garrett Paiz was killed in Napa, California, while operating an empty 1993 Kenworth water tender (tanker) when, according to the California Highway Patrol, the vehicle left the roadway on a curve and crashed through a guardrail down a ravine. Paiz, who died at the scene, was working on the Nuns fire burning in the hills above Oakville and was heading for a water resupply when the crash occurred near the bottom of a steep winding section of roadway called the Oakville Grade. According to initial reports, the roadway was closed for fire operations only at the time of the crash, and no other vehicles were involved. Firefighter/Driver Paiz, a native of the Coachella Valley in Southern California, and a volunteer firefighter with the Noel Fire Department in Missouri, was working as a contract firefighter with CAL FIRE at the time of his passing. The cause of the fatal incident remains under investigation by authorities.


Photo credit: from his Obituary

Garrett Paiz Garrett Paiz


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Incident Location: 1631 Oakville Grade, Napa, CA 94558 (U.S. National Grid: 10S EH 50921 52824)


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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • CAL FIRE: Twitter Account for Nuns Fire
  • CAL FIRE: PIO Twitter Account

    Cal Fire PIO tweet on 10/16/17: "This morning, a private water tender driver assigned to the #NunsFire tragically died in a vehicle rollover on Oakville Grade in Napa Co."

CAL FIRE shield with black band CAL FIRE shield with black band


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Media Articles and Reports

  • Contract firefighter killed near Napa County wildfire

    10/16/2017 | Online Article (KCRA)

    NAPA COUNTY, Calif — A contract firefighter who was driving a water tender truck was killed Monday morning when it went off the road and crashed in Napa County near the Nuns Fire, Cal Fire officials said.

    The truck overturned about 6:50 a.m. on Oakville Grade, about two miles west of Highway 29.

    The driver was working the 48,000-acre Nuns Fire that's burning in Napa County, Cal Fire Chief David Shew said.

    Oakville Grade is a very steep road and is "known as one of the steepest in Napa County," Shew said. He was driving downhill when the water tender truck overturned.

    "Something happened," Shew said. "I don't know what yet, but he lost control and the vehicle rolled off the embankment."

    Take a look at all the wildfires burning in Northern California

    The victim is not a Cal Fire fighter, but was hired as a contract firefighter. (More at the link ...)

  • Firefighter killed in Oakville water tender crash was volunteer from Missouri

    Oct 17, 2017 | Online Article

    A volunteer firefighter from Missouri has been identified as the driver who died Monday morning in the wreck of a water tender on the Oakville Grade near the Nuns Fire. Garrett Paiz, 38, was driving the privately owned truck when... (More at the link...)

  • Coachella Valley Native Killed Fighting Napa Fire

    10-17-17 | Online Article

    Cochilla, CA -- Firefighter Garrett Paiz, a native of the Coachella Valley died in Napa, fighting the fires in Northern California.

    On Monday afternoon, Garrett's mother Judi received the call every firefighter's mother dreads, "He says I'm from the Napa Sheriff's Department there's been an accident, and remember just dropping the phone."

    The voice on the other end told Judi her 38-year-old son, a contract firefighter was killed when his fire tender truck overturned on a steep road in Napa.

    Garrett lived in Missouri, and was a volunteer firefighter for the Noel Fire Department but had his own business of heavy firefighting equipment. He would travel around the country battling some of the biggest blazes.

    Judi says... (More at the link.)

  • State Investigating Employer of Driver Killed Fighting North Bay Wildfires

    10/20/2017 | Online Article (KQED)

    The private contractor that employed the Missouri man killed while helping firefighters battle the massive Nuns Fire in Napa County this week was not providing its employees with workers’ compensation insurance at the time of his death, according to state fire officials.

    Garrett Paiz, 38, died Monday after his water truck overturned while he drove down Oakville Grade, a notoriously steep route on the west side of the Napa Valley. (Much more at the link...)

    Suggestion: Visit and contribute to the Go Fund Me page for Garrett's family.


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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • USFA Memorial Database: Garrett Paiz
  • Go Fund Me page; all proceeds to benefit Garrett Paiz's family
  • Facebook page: search on Garrett Paiz

    Friday, October 27, 11:00 AM

    Destiny Church
    82-625 Showcase Parkway
    Indio, CA 92201
    (760) 863-0700

  • Obituary: Garrett Paiz


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