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Inmate Dies During Fire Training

A Sierra Conservation Center inmate died this afternoon while working to build a fire break in the hills near Groveland.

SCC spokesman Ben Garcia says the inmate from Southern California collapsed around noon today. An autopsy is planned to determine cause of death.

Garcia says the inmate was part of a minimum security inmate fire crew 6-week training program. The group, from the Jamestown area correctional facility, was conducting training exercises in a remote area off the Priest Grade in Southern Tuolumne County.

Emergency personnel needed four-wheel drive to reach the victim. Officials used a helicopter to fly the county coroner and prison representatives into the scene and fly the dead inmate to the Columbia Airport.

The inmate┬┤s name has not been released at this time.