Bodies Of Firefighters Killed In Arizona Recovered

YARNELL, Ariz. (July 1, 2013)--The bodies of 19 members of an elite firefighting crew who were killed after a wildfire overran them Sunday in Arizona wildfire were recovered Monday from the mountain where they died.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo now says all 19 were from the Prescott-based Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Authorities earlier said one of the 19 men wasn't a crew member.

Only one man from the 20-person team survived.

He was moving the crew’s truck when the flames swept over his 19 fellow firefighters.

The firefighters had deployed their emergency fire shelters to no avail.

They were battling a blaze moving toward Yarnell, a small town about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix when the flames overran them.

The fire made it into Yarnell and destroyed an unknown number of homes and businesses.

Overnight it quadrupled in size and has now burned more than 13 square miles.

Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman Mike Reichling said Monday that 18 hotshot fire crews were battling the blaze Monday about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The fire on Sunday spread to at least 2,000 acres amid triple-digit temperatures, destroying 200 homes and sending hundreds fleeing from the community of Yarnell.

President Barack Obama said the deaths of firefighters who are a heartbreaking reminder that emergency personnel put their lives on the line every day while rushing toward danger.

Mr. Obama, who spoke from Africa on Monday, added that America's thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

"We are heartbroken about what happened,” he said.

Obama says his administration is prepared to help Arizona investigate how the deaths happened and predicted the incident will force government leaders to answer broader questions about how they handle increasingly destructive and deadly wildfires.


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