Jeffery E. Common
- Coos Bay Fire and Rescue
- Age: 30
- Year of Death: 2002
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.