By Terry Miller
Ventura County Sheriff’s Department announced last Friday that Arcadia Fire Department Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Herdman’s body was found and recovered last Friday morning in rugged terrain approximately 1200 feet above the Sespe River outside of Fillmore.
Herdman died instantly after falling from a cliff in the Sespe Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office disclosed Tuesday morning.
Herdman had been dead, for at least a few days, and his injuries were “consistent with a significant fall,” according to Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Armando Chavez.
Herdman’s body was spotted by a helicopter search crew who noticed the body in the very rugged terrain near Sespe Creek, according to a Ventura County Sheriff’s dept. spokesperson. The body was airlifted to Ventura County M.E.’s office, where the identity was confirmed with dental records.
Herdman, 36, may have tried to climb the cliff in the dark and fell, according to the sheriff.
The death was ruled accidental. The examiner’s office will release a full report in the next 30 days. Search and rescue teams found Herdman’s body June 27 a short distance from where he and fellow Arcadia firefighter Taylor Byars were camping on a four-day hiking trip.
Herdman went missing after chasing after his dog, Duke, roughly two days into the four-day trip. Byars hiked out of the wilderness two days later after spending the first day trying to find his friend, according to the sheriff’s department.
Mr. Byars made his way out of the wilderness area and notified authorities on the evening of Sunday, June 15, 2014.
Beginning on Monday June 16, 2014, the Ventura County Sheriff and Fire Department, along with hundreds of volunteer Search and Rescue personnel searched for Mike Herdman concluding with the recovery of his body last Friday morning.
Beth Stogner, Arcadia Fire spokesperson, said: “Our hearts are broken, individually and collectively, by the news of Mike’s death. We are forever indebted to the Ventura County Sheriff’s and Fire Departments for their gallant and exhaustive efforts to find our brother and friend and bring him home.
“We extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to Mike’s family and stand ready to assist them in the difficult days, weeks, and months ahead.
“We also want to express our sincere thanks to our community and the many others who shared an outpouring of love and support.”
Mike Herdman, 36 years old, was a 7-year veteran of the Arcadia Fire Department. He is survived by his wife Bridget and young daughter.
The Fire Family Foundation is accepting donations for Mike’s family:
If you would like to help by making a monetary contribution, please click on https://firefamilyfoundation.org/How-to-Donate and earmark your donations on behalf of “Mike Herdman.”
In the link, you will learn the different ways you can donate. It is important that you specify “Mike Herdman” in the space provided so that the family will receive all donated funds.
The Arcadia Firefighters’ Association asks, “Please continue to keep your thoughts and prayers with Mike’s wife and daughter.”
Here is a brief description of the Fire Family Foundation on their website:
The Fire Family Foundation responds with compassion when tragedy affects firefighters and fire victims. A nonprofit founded in 2008 by the respected Firefighters First Credit Union, Fire Family Foundation offers immediate assistance in times of overwhelming need and grief.
The Foundation especially supports those who have been displaced, as well as families and individuals facing costly medical and burial expenses. Knowing that fire changes lives forever, the Fire Family Foundation is dedicated to bringing comfort and relief across the state.
Please click on the link below for more information.