The Cambrian

59-year-old Cambria man collapses, dies, while fighting fire

A 59-year-old man died suddenly Monday afternoon as he tried to fight a small brush fire on his ranch outside Cambria. Cal Fire said the fire started during a corral-welding project on his ranch.

Wade Lee “Scooter” Rhoades, a Cambria native and descendent of early area pioneer Fiscalini and Bianchi families, collapsed while on a tractor he had been using trying to contain the fire prior to the arrival of Cal Fire fighters.

The fire was reported 1:45 p.m. in the 5000 block of Santa Rosa Creek Road, about three miles east of Coast Union High School. Medics were also dispatched 10 minutes later.

Attempts to resuscitate Rhoades were unsuccessful.

The fire, which burned less than a quarter of an acre, was put out within minutes.

Rhoades lived on the ranch his entire life, including while attending Cal Poly. He later raised poppies for seed, as well as hay and cattle.