Arizona Firefighters Remembered As Families, Community Mourns

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 06:11 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The lives and sacrifices of 19 Hotshot firefighters killed this week were honored by more than 1,000 people Monday as their Arizona community came together to grieve and remember, MSN News reported.

The service, held at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, drew family, friends, and dozens of firefighters wearing Hotshot T-shirts, MSN said.

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The 19 men who died were part of an elite team of 20 Hotshot firefighters, one of only 112 groups of such elite firefighters in the country, and they died near Yarnell, Ariz., on Sunday. The MSN News story highlighted each man who died, including family members left behind.

Due to the physical nature of the job, most of the men were young, in their 20s, although a few were older.

The only survivor of the team, Brandon McDonough, 21, was identified Monday, reported ABC News. He had gone to move the truck when the fire turned and raged over the team.

Eighteen of the men who died were from the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, and one man came from another group, ABC reported.

The fire, started by lightning and which had burned around 2,000 acres when the firefighters were killed, was the worst wildfire tragedy since 1933, USA Today reported.

Tuesday, the fire raged on amid concerns that forecasted strong winds would stoke it, according to CBS News.

CBS said it’s estimated 50 homes have been lost to the blaze, and officials said the fire isn’t expected to be fully contained until July 15.

It was strong winds that led to the deaths of the 19 firefighters as the fire swirled around them, forcing the men to dive into their heat-resistant shelters. The CBS article said those shelters work primarily when firefighters are in a cleared area away from the fire, and not in its direct path.

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Related stories:

19 Firefighters Killed in Yarnell Fire; Worst Arizona Wildfire Disaster

Crews Battle to Save Colorado Town as Wildfires Grow

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