UPDATE: 19 firefighters killed responding to Arizona wildfire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Bodies of fallen firefighters arrive in Phoenix

AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story

PHOENIX, Arizona (WKOW) -- The bodies of 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell wildfire have arrived in Phoenix.

A caravan of white vans, passing under arched ladders of two fire trucks, reached the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office shortly after noon Monday.  

The medical examiner's office will conduct the autopsies on all 19 fallen firefighters.  Yavapai County authorities asked for help because the rural county didn't have the resources to handle so many casualties.

Yarnell is about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

All 19 firefighters killed belonged to the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew headquartered in Prescott.

Names of the fallen have yet to be released.


YARNELL, Arizona (WKOW) -- The bodies of 19 members of an elite Arizona firefighting crew have now been recovered from the mountain where they died.

The firefighters were overrun by a wildfire.  Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo states the members were from the Prescott-based Granite Mountain Hotshots.  Authorities originally stated one of the 19 was was not a crew member. 

One of the members on the 20-person team is the lone survivor as he was moving the crew's truck at the time. 

The crew was found late Sunday afternoon with their emergency fire shelters deployed.  They had been battling a blaze moving toward Yarnell, a small town about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

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


YARNELL, Arizona (WKOW) -- The lone survivor of an elite Arizona firefighting crew escaped because he was moving the crew's truck.

The remaining members of his crew were trapped and killed in a wildfire.  The wind-whipped fire trapped 18 members of a "hotshot" crew and another man working with them Sunday.  All died despite deploying tent-like fire structures designed to deflect heat and flames.

A spokesman for the Arizona State Forestry Division says one member of the hotshot crew survived after separating from the team to move its vehicle.

Southwest incident team leader Clay Templin says the crew and commanders were following safety protocols, but it appears the fire's erratic nature simply overwhelmed them.

Reichling says the blaze roughly 85 miles northwest of Phoenix has burned 13 square miles with zero containment.


YARNELL, Arizona (WKOW)— An elite team of 19 firefighters has been confirmed dead after being unaccounted for on Sunday while battling a wildfire.

The firefighters were part of a "Hotspot" crew that was fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire that broke out in Arizona on Friday.  Their team is responsible for cutting down brush and making fuel breaks.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo says the department is grieving the loss of so many of its members.  He says they were the finest, most dedicated people you will ever meet.

Authorities say it is still unclear exactly what happened when the crew died, but Fraijo says they were battling racing flames and dry, hot conditions.  The firefighters were forced to deploy their tent-like fire structures to shield themselves from the flames and triple-digit heat.

President Barack Obama is hailing the 19 firefighters as heroes and pledging federal support for the state.

The wildfire that started from a lighting strike has destroyed an estimated 200 homes and spread over 2,000 acres near Yarnell and Glen Isla, which is about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The flames from the blaze lit up the night sky and the smoke could be smelled for miles.

The Red Cross has opened two shelters in the area -- at Yavapai College in Prescott and at the Wickenburg High School gym.

Officials say this is the worst firefighting disaster in U.S. history in at least 30 years.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, not counting the 19 deaths recently reported in Arizona, there have been 43 firefighter fatalities reported so far in 2013.


YARNELL, Arizona (WKOW) -- Officials say 19 firefighters have died while trying put out a fast-moving wildfire in Arizona.

Forestry spokesperson Art Morrison says the group was forced to deploy their fire shelters, tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat. They were working Sunday afternoon near the town of Yarnell, which is north of Phoenix.

Earlier, 50 homes in several communities nearby were evacuated because of the wildfire, including the town of Yarnell.

About 200 crews are fighting the wildfire but CNN reports an additional 130 firefighters and more equipment is on the way.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact News Director Dan Schillinger at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.