19 Firefighters Killed Fighting Arizona Blaze
Not since 9-11 have more firefighters died in one incident. Fire officials have confirmed that 19 firefighters have died while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in central Arizona.
Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said that 22 firefighters were injured, and 8 required hospitalization. He described the fire, which started after a lightning strike Friday, as a fast-moving blaze fueled by dry conditions and hot weather reaching into triple digits temperatures.
“When a tragedy like this strikes, all we can do is offer our eternal gratitude to the fallen, and prayers for the families and friends left behind. God bless them all,” said Governor Jan Brewer in a statement.
Earlier Sunday, the fire prompted the evacuation of at least 50 homes in areas about 85 miles north of Phoenix and forced closure of Route 89.
The fire destroyed almost 200 homes in several Arizona communities and is currently being contained by two hundred firefighters and retardant-dropping helicopters. More aircraft and firefighters are on their way.
Another blaze that began in a motorcycle salvage yard about 130 miles east of Yarnell started Saturday afternoon and spread through a mobile home park and into neighboring Forest Service land but was contained within 12 hours of its start. The cause is still under investigation.
The Red Cross says seven adults and two children are staying at a shelter set up for people who were evacuated.