- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A federal smokejumper deployed to Alabama to help battle wildfires has died a month after falling over a concrete railing while walking back to his hotel.

Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates says 52-year-old Ray Fernandez Rubio, of Oregon, died in a hospital Monday after suffering a head injury Nov. 22.

Al.com (https://bit.ly/2if4Vi7 ) reports that Rubio had completed his assignment and was going to return to Oregon when he fell over a railing into a Birmingham parking garage.

Rubio, a husband and father, was a longtime smokejumper with the Deschutes National Forest. He was trained to parachute into wildfires to battle them from within.

Yates says forestry officials had a team in Alabama to support Rubio’s family during his hospital stay.


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