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Cal Fire firefighter, 29, dies after training hike in San Diego County

Cal Fire firefighter Yaroslav Katkov, 29, of Escondido, died Monday, July 29, after collapsing during a training hike, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire firefighter Yaroslav Katkov, 29, of Escondido, died Monday, July 29, after collapsing during a training hike, according to Cal Fire. Cal Fire Local 2881

A 29-year-old Cal Fire firefighter died early Monday morning after collapsing during a Sunday morning training hike in San Diego County.

Yaroslav Katkov of Escondido suffered a medical emergency that is being investigated, according to Cal Fire. Katkov joined the department last summer as a seasonal firefighter.

Katkov was training with his engine company when he collapsed in the area of De Luz and was transported by helicopter to Temecula Valley Hospital, Cal Fire Local 2881 President Tim Edwards said.

Heat might have been a factor, but the union is waiting on a coroner’s report for more information, Edwards said. National Weather Service records for De Luz show the temperature was in the upper 70s Sunday morning, reaching 80 by 10:49 a.m.

Katkov is survived by his father, mother and sister, according to a Governor’s Office news release.

Flags will be flown at half staff to honor Katkov, according to the release. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, issued a statement on the death.

“On behalf of all Californians, Jennifer and I extend our sincere condolences to CAL FIRE Firefighter Yaroslav Katkov’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time,” Newsom said in the statement. “It’s the work of brave firefighters like Yaroslav that keep our communities safe, and we are deeply grateful for his service.”

Lawmakers also shared condolences.

“We lost a community hero this morning,” said Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron of Escondido.

“It is with a heavy heart that I send my sympathies to Yaroslav Katkov’s family and the CAL FIRE San Diego Unit,” said Democratic Senate Leader Toni Atkins.

The loss of a loved one can take a physical and emotional toll on you. Grief can produce stress in your body. The process can be different for everyone, and people may even experience “complicated grief." Learn more here.

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