Officials ID Man Killed in Crash That Sparked Reservoir Fire

A Los Angeles County Fire helicopter flies by the Fish Fire in Duarte June 20. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Coroner’s officials identified the driver who crashed his truck along Highway 39, igniting the fast-moving Reservoir Fire.

Michael Spengler, 53, died June 20 as the result of multiple blunt force injuries and thermal injuries, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner website.

The death was identified as an accident.

According to the CHP collision report, the crash occurred on southbound Highway 39 around 10:45 a.m. at mile marker 20.65 June 20.

For unknown reasons, Spengler veered to the left and collided his truck into the side of the descending mountain. The truck continued down the mountainside and came to a rest on its wheels, according to the collision report.

Spengler became trapped in his vehicle, which ignited and became fully engulfed. He suffered fatal injuries due to the fire, the CHP said.

The Reservoir Fire has burned 1,146 acres and is 96 percent contained.

The Reservoir Fire and Fish Fire, which began soon after, burned in a fuel bed that was seven to 10 years old with six to eight-foot chaparral and a large grass crop, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

No homes or structures were damaged.

***This story is an updated version, eliminating the second to last paragraph which gave incorrect acreage burned in the first day.

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