Submitted by his mother
A career firefighter‚ Capt. Randall E. Carpenter‚ 46‚ died November 25‚ 2002‚ when the burning roof of a business in downtown Coos Bay collapsed. Two volunteer firefighters also died battling the blaze. Randy had been a firefighter for a total of 23 years‚ beginning his career as a volunteer‚ then full-time with the Baker City Fire Department‚ before moving to a position with the Coos Bay Fire Department in February 1989. He was Baker City’s 1983 ‘Firefighter of the Year’‚ and Coos Bay’s 1991 ‘Firefighter of the Year’. He was also Coos Bay’s 1999 ‘EMT of the Year’.
Randy’s interest in firefighting began early in his life when he would accompany his father‚ a volunteer firefighter for Baker City for 46 years. During the time he was a volunteer‚ Randy was very active in the Oregon Volunteer Firefighter Association and served in all state association offices‚ including president. Randy was a consummate professional and was highly qualified in all operational and procedural aspects of his job. He was part of the original efforts to bring a hazardous materials unit to Coos Bay and was a specialist in HAZMAT. He was qualified and certified to teach all subjects of firefighting and regularly taught courses in CPR and EMT Basic at the local college in Coos Bay. He took great pride in his job and treasured the trust and respect of all his firefighter brethren. He was an active member of the International Association of Firefighters‚ IAFF‚ Local 2935 (served as President during 1991)‚ and the Regional Hazardous Materials Team. He was also skilled in construction and built a successful contracting business with his good friend Jim Bush.
The love of family was very foremost in Randy’s life. He was so proud of and totally dedicated to his two girls‚ Sarah and Stephanie‚ with priority in providing for their needs. He is also survived by his parents‚ Wayne and Dru‚ three brothers‚ Kerry‚ Brad‚ and Jeff‚ their spouses and families‚ and his companion‚ Christine Farmer-Benson.
Randy was usually very successful when he took his boat out ‘crabbing’‚ and was always happy when he could take time to go waterskiing‚ at which he was very adept. He especially loved spending time in Eastern Oregon (Dad & Mom referred to him as their ‘homing pigeon’) where he would hunt deer‚ elk‚ and antelope‚ along with working with longtime friends on the Bunch Ranch near Durkee. While Randy had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed playing a practical joke‚ he never wanted the limelight‚ just a way to be of help. His honesty and integrity were unquestionable. Randy will be missed beyond description by all his family and his countless friends who were like family to him.
The Randy Carpenter Memorial Firefighter Training Fund has been established to provide funds to aid in needed training for Coos County and Baker County firefighters and emergency personnel.
Submitted by his parents
Jeff Common was born on August 19‚ 1972 in Fort Bragg‚ California. At the age of 1‚ he moved with his family to North Bend/Coos Bay‚ Oregon. After graduating from North Bend High School in 1991‚ at the age of 18 he became a volunteer with the North Bend Fire Department‚ where he lived as a ‘sleeper’ while working at various other jobs.
For the past seven years‚ Jeff worked with his dad on the tugs and pilot boats at Coos Bay Towboat Company. His dad‚ Chris‚ was a volunteer firefighter at North Bend for 20 years. In the winter of 2000‚ Jeff attended maritime school in Vancouver‚ Washington‚ where he earned his Master Mariner’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard. In the spring of 2001‚ Jeff made a two-month tug voyage to Alaska for Sause Bros. Ocean Towing Co.‚ going up the Inside Passage‚ through the Bering Sea and up the Yukon River. Jeff was a volunteer firefighter for 12 years‚ serving with the departments at North Bend‚ North Bay‚and Coos Bay. He was a volunteer captain at North Bend before moving to Coos Bay.
Over the years‚ Jeff was involved in many big mutual-aid fires‚ rescues and wildland fires. Of the many awards he received‚ the two he was most proud of were his Firefighter of the Year Awards‚ in 1995 in North Bend‚ and in 2000 in Coos Bay.
Jeff had many‚ many good friends and with them he enjoyed camping‚ river rafting‚ riding ATV’s in the sand dunes‚ hunting‚ fishing‚ crabbing and boating.
Jeff Common was a man who loved life. He would wake up every day and make the most of it. He could always put a smile on anyone’s face. Jeff knew a great many people and touched many‚ many lives. He had the greatest laugh‚ and would make others laugh just by hearing him.
Jeff was a wonderful father to his three children‚ daughter Taylor‚ 3‚ and twin sons Brycen and Bailey‚ 2. He loved his children and was very devoted to them. He loved playing with them‚ holding them and reading books to them. One of our favorite memories is remembering Jeff visiting at our house and watching him fall asleep in a chair while holding his sleeping twin boys. Jeff encouraged his children to be out-going and to love life.
Jeff was honest‚ hard-working and trustworthy‚ and a loyal friend to many. He was a very loving and devoted son and brother‚ and his parents and sister were very proud of him. Jeff loved his family very much‚ and they were very close.
On November 25‚ 2002‚ at the age of 30‚ Jeff lost his life‚ along with two other Coos Bay firefighters‚ while battling a blaze in a commercial building in downtown Coos Bay‚ Oregon. The roof collapsed when a backdraft created an explosive ball of fire‚ trapping Jeff and Lt. Randy Carpenter on a second floor landing. Volunteer firefighter Chuck Hanners was blown down the stairs‚ but died before he was able to escape the burning building. A heavy support beam fell on Jeff and Randy‚ knocking Jeff’s helmet off and pinning them to the floor in the inferno.
Fire departments from throughout the region battled the raging‚ paint and chemical fueled fire all afternoon. Several hours passed before the intense heat‚ smoke and flames were subdued enough for rescue crews to locate and remove the bodies of the victims.
Jeff Common died doing what he loved – fighting fire. We are very proud of our son‚ and glad that he was a member of the elite group of men and women of the Fire Service.
Submitted by his wife
Chuck Hanners‚ like every other firefighter that responds to an alarm‚ was a hero – soft-spoken‚ energetic‚ extremely dedicated to his wife‚ Kristin‚ and six children‚ fun- loving‚ supportive and full of encouragement to others‚ but a hero for putting his life on the line for others. Chuck was a man whose life was filled with over-whelming challenges and yet he chose to conquer instead of run.
A volunteer firefighter for 13 years‚ nine of which were served for the Coos Bay Fire Department from which Chuck was honored twice as Fireman of the Year by the Department. His goal was to become a full-time fireman and was so excited when he passed his test in June of 2001 to become an EMT Basic that pushed him one step closer to reaching his goal. Normally seen as a quiet‚ gentle-spirited‚ easy going man who loved Jesus‚ but when the fire alarm went off his personality would literally change to one of an aggressive firefighter whose dedication and all out attitude made him a valuable asset to the Department.
Together with his job at Walmart as a department manager‚ firefighting‚ playing roller hockey with other firemen‚ quality time with the family‚…Chuck still found time to give of himself for others in Habitat For Humanity. He helped with dozens of other volunteers to build 6 houses‚ including one for his own family. What a special day it was to move his family of eight out of a very crowded and small three bedroom house to a new four bedroom house that would accommodate their family’s needs.
Chuck Hanners‚ volunteer firefighter and hero‚ lost his life on November 25‚ 2002‚ with two other firemen doing what all of them loved to do – fighting structure fires – when a roof structure collapsed trapping them inside the building. Chuck’s 12-year old son‚ Ryan (1 of 6 children ages six to teens) shares these words of the legacy left behind by his dad: ‘My dad has done too many things to count – he has taught us how to have respect for others and to have manners; to have a kind heart and to love one another.’ Not a bad legacy to leave behind for a man who only lived 33 years. A legacy of a man who cared deeply for others and worked hard to do his best at whatever he did.