‘He’s a one-of-a-kind hero’: Parents identify son as 1 of 4 B.C. wildland firefighters killed in crash


The parents of a teen wildland firefighter are sharing details of his tragic death in a head-on collision near Kamloops early Tuesday morning.

Barb Billyboy said her 19-year-old son Jaxon was a young warrior who was just coming home after a 14 day tour fighting wildfires near Fort St. James.

“He’s a one-of-a-kind hero. We miss him and we want him back. He had a heart of gold. we’re proud of him. He always said ‘keep your head up,’” Barb Billyboy told Global News Thursday night.

“We were all expecting him home, his brother and his sisters. Everybody is going to miss him.”

Jaxon along with three colleagues were killed when their pickup truck crashed into a semi truck near Kamloops along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Click to play video: '4 wildland firefighters killed in crash'

4 wildland firefighters killed in crash

Jaxon’s father Randy Plouffe says it was terrible when first responders pulled up to their home to tell them about their son.

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“We were waiting on them and he didn’t show,” Plouffe explained.

“Then when the panel came up the driveway to tell us, it was like a nightmare.”

Jaxon had been working with Interior Tree Falling as a wildland firefighter. While speaking with his parents, they told Global News they had just collected his belongings from the business.

“They gave us a bunch of sweaters and t-shirts, so I’m actually wearing one right now,” Billyboy said. “They helped us with gas coming here and they did reach out to say: ‘call us if you need anything’.”

Billyboy and Plouffe had just come from the scene of the accident that day and shared prayers with the families of the other victims.

“It was hard when we prayed for each other as families,” Billyboy said as she recounted her time spent with the families of the victims Thursday.

“It was nice to meet them and a way of praying for each other and all standing together praying for each and every one of them that’s passed on. It was nice to have that there today.”

Click to play video: 'Victim of McDougall Creek fire finds a way to give back'

Victim of McDougall Creek fire finds a way to give back

Plouffe says his son was still so young, having just finished school.

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“He was 19 years old, just graduated a few months ago. He has two sisters and a younger brother,” Plouffe shared.

His parents said Jaxon’s passing has been especially difficult on his siblings, after recently being forced from their home and having another loss in the family as well.

“We had just come back from being evacuated as well and getting settled in,” Billyboy said now back in their West Kelowna home.

“He also lost his grandpa three months ago as well in a tragic accident.”

Jaxon’s parents say they’re staying strong for his brother and sisters as well.

“They’re taking it pretty hard, we’re here for them helping them along the way to greive,” Jaxon’s parents said.

“He also mentioned he got us gifts, necklaces, and drinks. He was really looking forward to coming home, that’s for sure.”

Jaxon’s parents say they’re taking things one day at a time, but say it’s good to be surrounded by family during this difficult period.

“We’re keeping each other up by being here for family,” Billyboy shared. “We have a lot of family and it’s good to have them here.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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