The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 1, 2013

Arizona. fire crew that lost 19 members worked the front lines

YARNELL, Ariz. — The 19 firefighters killed Sunday in Arizona were part of an elite crew known for working on the front lines of region's worst fires, including two this season that came before the team descended on the erratic fire that claimed their lives.

All but one member of the Prescott-based Hotshot crew died in what was the deadliest wildfire for firefighters in the U.S. in decades.

Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said the 19, whose names had not been released, were a part of the city's fire department.

Before the fire near Yarnell, the group — one of 13 Arizona Hotshot crews — had been profiled in local media last year as they prepared for the fire season and this year as they took on a blaze near Prescott earlier this month.

"The Hot Shots may be fighting the fire with fire," Prescott firefighter and spokesman Wade Ward told the Prescott Daily Courier in an interview last week. http://bit.ly/10tLAsZ

"They may be removing the fuels from the fire, or building a containment line that might be a trigger point for farther down the line."

He told the newspaper members of Hotshot crews are highly trained and work long hours in extreme conditions as they carry out the most demanding of tasks. When the deadly blaze near Yarnell erupted Friday, it came amid a severe heat wave that gripped much of the West. It grew out of control as it was fanned by gusty, hot winds Sunday.

"By the time they got there, it was moving very quickly," Fraijo told The Associated Press of Sunday's fire.

Hotshot crews — there are more than 100 in the U.S. — often hike for miles into the wilderness with chain saws and backpacks filled with heavy gear to build lines of protection between people and fires. They remove brush, trees and anything that might burn in the direction of homes and cities.

The Prescott-based crew last year had four rookies on its 22-member squad, according to a Cronkite News Service report that profiled the group (http://bit.ly/Id3Ca8).

State forestry spokesman Art Morrison told the AP that the firefighters were forced to deploy their emergency fire shelters — tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat — when they were caught in the fire.

The Cronkite News Service had featured the group in its story practicing such deployment in a worst-case scenario drill.

"One of the last fail safe methods that a firefighter can do under those conditions is literally to dig as much as they can down and cover themselves with a protective — kinda looks like a foil type — fire-resistant material — with the desire, the hope at least, is that the fire will burn over the top of them and they can survive it," Fraijo said Sunday.

"Under certain conditions there's usually only sometimes a 50 percent chance that they survive," he said. "It's an extreme measure that's taken under the absolute worst conditions."

 

1
Text Only
News
  • High-flying Valley cheerleaders earn bid for international title

    WINFIELD — The Pennsylvania Elite Senior 5 all-star cheerleading squad’s floor routine doesn’t have a lot of what people might consider “cheering,” coach Brett Derr said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Snook suspension now a mystery

    MIDDLEBURG — Acting Midd-West Superintendent Daphne Snook is confused about what the school board is alleging she did that led to her suspension without pay, saying she hasn’t received anything in writing. “Nothing I have been told by the board in any way makes me believe that I violated district policy or the law,” Snook said by email Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Danville teacher strike starts today

    DANVILLE — Nearly four hours of negotiations could not prevent the first teacher strike at Danville in decades.

    April 17, 2014

  • Good Morning Central Susquehanna Valley

    Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year. On April 17, 1964, Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock became the first woman to complete a solo airplane trip around the world, returning to Columbus, Ohio, after 29 1/2 days and 21 stopovers in her Cessna 180.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ruling on torture could save Miranda Barbour's life

    SUNBURY — An attorney for homicide suspect Miranda Barbour filed a motion Wednesday in Northumberland County Court asking a judge to rule that murder victim Troy LaFerrara was not tortured before being killed.

    April 16, 2014

  • Investigation: Weapon used in attack on county prison officers

    SUNBURY — A “homemade metal weapon” was used in the attack against three corrections officers at the Northumberland County Prison on Friday, according to prison officials.

    April 16, 2014

  • Milton woman charged with endangering child

    MILTON — A Milton mom faces two misdemeanors after investigators said her 1-year-old suffered first- and second-degree burns while in her care and she failed to seek medical attention.

    April 16, 2014

  • Sunbury man critically injured in SUV crash

    SUNBURY — A driver was injured Tuesday night when his SUV careened off Mile Hill Road and down a steep 20-foot embankment, knocking over trees until it crashed and twisted around a large tree trunk.

    April 16, 2014

  • SUN Home Health and Geisinger ink merger plan

    NORTHUMBERLAND — Geisinger Community Health Services and SUN Home Health and Hospice announced today the signing of a comprehensive integration agreement by which SUN Home Health & Hospice will become part of the Geisinger health system.

    April 16, 2014

  • College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT

    WASHINGTON — Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years.

    April 16, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

Are you among those who will be completing and mailing your tax forms today?

Yes
No - Already Filed
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.