Firefighter killed while fighting massive California wildfire (video)

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The massive Thomas fire, which has become the fourth largest fire in California history, having destroyed 249,500 acres, has now claimed the life of a Cal Fire engineer who was working for the department’s San Diego unit.

The lost firefighter has been identified as Cory Iverson, 32, who was killed in the line of duty Thursday morning about 9:30 a.m. local time. Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said he has been with the state agency since 2009.

Iverson is survived by his wife, Ashley, who is pregnant with their second child, and a 2-year-old daughter Evie.

“Cory and Ashley are expecting a second daughter this spring,” Pimlott said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Cory’s family and all of his friends and co-workers throughout the department and the fire service.”

Over 8,100 firefighters are battling the Thomas fire, as it spreads through national forest land that has not been burned in 50 years, CBS News reported.

Since Dec. 4, the Thomas fire has covered 379 square miles, destroyed 972 buildings, including 700 homes, and prompted the evacuation of 100,000 people as another 18,000 buildings are under dire threat from the flames. The fire is now 35 percent contained, Cal Fire department reported in a Twitter post Thursday evening.

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