A Hemet man who died Sunday, March 27, in a motorcycle crash in the southwest Riverside County community of Aguanga was a U.S. Forest Service firefighter assigned to the San Bernardino National Forest, that agency said Wednesday.
Desmond Palmer, 34, worked at Station 54 in Valle Vista, east of Hemet, in the San Jacinto Ranger District, USFS spokesman Zachary Behrens said.
Palmer joined the USFS in 2019 as a temporary firefighter on Engine 54, “finding a new passion in his life and becoming a key member,” Behrens wrote in an email. He became a permanent senior firefighter on the engine in 2020.
“Desmond was an incredibly positive person who always encouraged and uplifted his coworkers,” Engine 54 Capt. Daniel Diaz said in a statement provided by Behrens. “He had an infectious laugh that could cut through any situation and improve morale around him. The loss of Desmond will be felt heavily across the district.”
The crash happened at 4:20 p.m. on Sage Road north of Tyler Street, the California Highway Patrol said. Palmer, who was off duty, was riding north on Sage when for unknown reasons he veered off the right side of the road and was thrown from his bike, the CHP said.
Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters pronounced Palmer dead at the scene. They alerted the USFS, Behrens said, and a USFS battalion chief and division chief participated in a procession to the coroner’s office.