Robert Oliver Reagan III, a Friant resident and graduate of Yosemite High School, was identified Thursday as the bulldozer operator who died July 26 while fighting the Soberanes Fire in Big Sur.
Area news station KSBW reported Reagan, 35, was in his bulldozer when it rolled over, causing fatal injuries while he battled the growing 25,000-acre fire in Monterey County as an independent contractor and Cal Fire partner.
“(Firefighting) is an inherently dangerous job with great risk involved,” said Todd Derum, Cal Fire incident commander. “Please keep your heartfelt thoughts and prayers with the family.”
Daniel Reagan described his brother as a caring man who died doing what he believed in.
“He was a very industrious person who loved to be out and actively helping people,” Daniel said. “He would do anything he could to meet the needs of somebody else. He died doing something he was good at, and doing something he believed was helpful for others in need.”
A GoFundMe page was set up by Reagan’s family to raise money for his wife and two daughters. More than $25,000 was raised by Thursday evening.
On social media, dozens of people offered their prayers and words of support.
“Condolences to his family, friends, and firefighters on the loss of this brave man,” Diana Welling said. “Thank you for being a firefighter. Godspeed sir.”
“It’s always so sad to hear about the loss of another classmate,” added Brianna Templeton. “Prayers for his family.”
Daniel thanked the community for its support, and for respecting the privacy of the family as they take time to mourn their loss.
Reagan was a race car driver who finished third in the 2014 Enduro division at the LoanMart Madera Speedway before he moved into dirt-track racing.
Kenny Shepherd, the Speedway’s owner and promoter, said Reagan was intensely competitive while on the track. But once a race was finished, that fierce attitude turned into one of laughter and love.
“He’d be very competitive, but he raced for the right reasons,” Shepherd said. “He was well liked by his friends, he always gave out big smiles, but he was serious as can be behind the wheel. He was a winner on the track, and a great family man off of it.”
Shepherd said calls have been “pouring in” from fellow racers who are planning fundraisers, at the Speedway and elsewhere, to honor Reagan and support his family.