Off-Duty Arcadia Firefighter Goes Missing While Camping Near Fillmore

FILLMORE (CBSLA.com) — A search is underway for an off-duty Arcadia firefighter and paramedic who went missing last week while camping outside of Fillmore, officials said.

Michael Herdman, 36, and fellow firefighter/paramedic Taylor Byars hiked to Tar Creek Trail and set up camp along the Sespe Creek on Friday evening when Herdman’s dog ran away.

Herdman, who was barefoot and wearing shorts and a T-shirt, along with Byars, ran after the dog.

A short time later, the two men became separated, authorities said.

Byars made his way back to the campsite, but Herdman, a seven-year veteran, never returned.

Byars searched for Herdman for nearly two days before he made his way out of the wilderness and reported his friend missing on Sunday evening.

Deputies said it took a long time for Byars to report what happened because the camp was so far out.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Division deployed crews on foot, as well those on horseback in the search. Helicopters were also being utilized.

KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper reports that Herdman’s family was too distraught to speak about the husband and father.

“His family is up here and a lot of them have offered to help and things like that. We want to find him,” sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said. “He had nothing with him, no food or shelter or anything like that when he went running off. Where he went…we don’t know if he fell. We don’t know what happened to him at this point. He’s hiked a lot, camped a lot, been in the back country a lot, so those things are certainly to his advantage, but being out there barefoot in shorts for three days isn’t a good formula.”

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