Wildland LODD Prompts Lawsuit by Pilot’s Family

The family of a helicopter pilot who was killed battling the Hills Fire in California earlier this year has filed a wrongful death suit against two helicopter maintenance providers.  

Michael Fournier died on August 19, 2020 when the UH-1H Huey helicopter he was flying lost its hydraulics and crashed. Fournier made several water drops that day and was preparing for his next when the crash occurred. The suit was filed by his wife and daughters naming Arrow-Falcon Exporters and Rotocraft Support Inc.

Arrow-Falcon specializes in extending the service life of helicopters including the venerable Huey. Rotocraft Support is named as having serviced the helicopter the Fournier died in.

The Hill Fire started on August 15, 2020 and burned 2121 acres outside of Fresno. It was contained on August 24, 2020. CalFire treated it as active for 115 days. Fournier was the only fatality.

A copy of the complaint is not available. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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