Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Nineteen firefighters die in Arizona wildfire

RIP, all of you brave MEN!

An Arizona town is mourning 19 firefighters killed on Sunday battling a ferocious wildfire about 80 miles (130km) north-west of Phoenix.

The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the City of Prescott 1 July 2013
The dead firefighters were identified as members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, shown here in an undated photo

Residents of Prescott, where the crew was based, said they were numb and shaken by the loss of firefighters from an elite "hotshots" wildfire unit.
President Barack Obama said he was "heartbroken" and called the deceased firefighters "heroes".
It is the highest death toll for a fire crew in a single incident since 9/11.
The fire, which remains entirely uncontained, was sparked by lightning on Friday and has spread rapidly amid high heat, low humidity and strong winds. It has grown to 8,000 acres (3,200 ha), destroyed about 200 homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

In Tanzania on Monday, Mr Obama said Americans' thoughts and prayers were with the firefighters' families.
"This is one more reminder of the fact that our first responders, they put their lives on the line every single day," Mr Obama said.
A 20th member of the team - the only one to survive - was elsewhere at the time.
As they became surrounded by flames, the firefighters were forced to take shelter in emergency tent-like structures, said Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.
"One of the last fail-safe methods a firefighter can do is literally to dig as much as they can down and cover themselves with a protective fire-resistant material, with the hope that the fire will burn over the top of them and they can survive it," he said.
"Under certain conditions there's usually only sometimes a 50% chance that they survive. It's an extreme measure that's taken under the absolute worst conditions."
'Brave men'
The 19 bodies were retrieved from the scene on Monday and were transported to Maricopa County, seat of Arizona's largest city, Phoenix, for an examination.
The tragedy is the worst from a wildfire since 1933, when at least 25 firemen died battling a fire in Griffith Park, Los Angeles.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said the dead were "brave men who gave their lives in defence of friends, neighbours and perfect strangers".
The fire chief said the hotshots were "dedicated, hardworking, well-trained and experienced people".
Some 400 firefighters are still battling the fast-moving wildfire. At least 18 hotshot crews have been deployed to the fire.
In recent days, dozens of people across western US states have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, as a heat wave continues.
Temperatures in some areas were expected to reach 54C (130F), close to the world's all-time high recorded 100 years ago in California's Death Valley.
Meanwhile, officials were investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths, said Mary Rasmussen of the Southwest Area Incident Management Team.

From BBC News
line break

No comments :

Post a Comment