06:18 02 July 2013
A wildfire in Arizona, considered one of the deadliest in the US for decades, has killed 19 elite firefighters based in Prescott.
State forestry spokesman have confirmed the sad news. Talking to the Associated Press, Art Morrison said that the specially trained “hot shot” firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters designed to shield them from heat and flames when they were caught near an Arizona town.
Morrison told CNN: "In normal circumstances, when you're digging fire lines, you make sure you have a good escape route, and you have a safety zone set up. Evidently, their safety zone wasn't big enough, and the fire just overtook them. By the time the other firefighters got in, they didn't survive."
Meanwhile, state governor Jan Brewer is saddened with the turn of events. He said: "It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: fighting fires is dangerous work."
President Barack Obama has sent condolences to the families of the 19 firefighters. He also praised the crew and called them “heroes.”
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