Local Obituaries

California man partially paralyzed fighting a 2001 fire in Eastern Kentucky dies in Oregon home fire

Krstofer Evans smoked outside Craig Rehab in Denver, Colo. on March 7, 2002, as he recovered from his injuries.
Krstofer Evans smoked outside Craig Rehab in Denver, Colo. on March 7, 2002, as he recovered from his injuries. Lexington Herald-Leader File

Krstofer Evans’ life was punctuated by fire.

In 2001, he was a strapping 30-year-old California firefighter helping with arson fires in Eastern Kentucky when a 70-foot black locust tree fell on his head, crushing many bones and leaving him without the use of his legs.

Last Wednesday, he was home alone in Oregon when a fire broke out. Explosives in the house were ignited, fueling an inferno punctuated by numerous explosions.

An Oregon State Police investigation team found Evans body in the charred rubble, the Philomath Express reported. He was 45.

“It looks like the mishandling of fireworks,” Philomath Police Chief Ken Reuben told the newspaper. “It looks like he was making homemade fireworks.”

Evans apparently was a smoker, which could have been a factor, Reuben said.

Before being injured in the small leaf litter fire near the Olge community in Clay County, Evans was a 6-foot-6, 215-pound Air Force veteran living what he called a “semi-charmed life.” He was an outdoorsman who fought fires for the Plumas Hotshots to pay for college classes.

The details of his injuries, and the dangers of arson fires, were the subjects of a 2002 feature in the Herald-Leader.

The article quoted extensively from a website where Evans recorded his feelings during rehabilitation: “Had I not been putting out an arson fire and gotten my ass kicked by a tree, I’d be back in California happily going to school, hiking and snowboarding. Instead, I’m fighting for my legs in rehab. All because someone was bored and had a match.”

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