You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

News

  • Nation hunts for Ebola victims
    In a desperate bid to slow West Africa’s accelerating Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone ordered its 6 million people confined to their homes for three days starting today while volunteers conduct a house-to-house search for victims in hiding.
  • Floods overrun cruiser; hunt on for deputy
    Rescue crews in central Texas were searching Thursday for a sheriff’s deputy who radioed for help minutes before her empty patrol car was found submerged by floodwaters, while heavy rains in west Texas caused dozens of streets and some houses to
  • Lotteries
Advertisement
Associated Press
Officials said 19 firefighters died Sunday battling a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz. The blaze, which began Friday, covers nearly 2,000 acres.

19 firefighters dead in Arizona

Forced to deploy emergency shelters in widespread blaze

– Gusty hot winds blew an Arizona wildfire out of control on Sunday, overtaking and killing 19 elite firefighters in the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. for at least 30 years.

The specially trained “hotshot” firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters – tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat – when they were caught near the central Arizona town of Yarnell, state forestry spokesman Art Morrison told The Associated Press.

The fire started Friday and spread to 2,000 acres on Sunday amid triple-digit temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. Officials ordered the evacuations of 50 homes in several communities, and later Sunday afternoon, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office expanded the order to include more residents in Yarnell, about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo also said 19 firefighters had been killed by the fire.

“The entire hot-shot crew had been killed by the fire,” he said. He said that the firefighters had to deploy the emergency shelters when “something drastic happened.”

The crew killed in the blaze had worked other wildfires in recent weeks in New Mexico and Arizona. The unit was established in 2002.

The National Fire Protection Association had previously listed the deadliest wildland fire involving firefighters as the 1994 Storm King Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colo., which killed 14 firefighters who were overtaken by a sudden explosion of flames.

Morrison said several homes in the community of Glenisle burned on Sunday. He said no other injuries or deaths have been reported from that area.

About 200 firefighters are fighting the wildfire, which has also forced the closure of parts of state Route 89. An additional 130 firefighters and more water- and retardant-dropping helicopters and aircraft are on their way.

Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman, told the Arizona Republic the division is calling in federal help to fight the fire.

Roxie Glover, spokeswoman at Wickenburg Community Hospital, said that the hospital has been told to expect people with injuries.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Yavapai College in Prescott, the sheriff’s office said.

In another Arizona fire, a 2-acre blaze that started at a motorcycle salvage yard and spread to a trailer park has destroyed five mobile homes in the Gila County community of Rye, located more than 130 miles east of Yarnell.

Advertisement